Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has touted the power of artificial intelligence in combatting ‘digital misinformation.’
During a recent interview with Handelsblatt, a German news outlet, Gates responded to a question regarding “misinformation” via A.I. by referring to the events of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“I’m certainly concerned about political polarization, and I know the U.S. situation best of all. I wouldn’t have expected people to attack the Capitol, or people to deny the validity of election results. I’m in a state of shock about that,” Gates said.
“We can’t blame A.I. for that. That happened. It may have been magnified by digital channels that allow various conspiracy theories like QAnon or whatever to be blasted out by people who wanted to believe those things,” Gates added.
“So, the digital tools may have played an auxiliary role,” Gates continued.
“You’ll have to take A.I. into consideration” to “solve the digital misinformation [problem].”
The Microsoft founder described “political polarization” as another social ill that could be combatted by using A.I. to reduce “confirmation bias.”
However, critics say A.I. is not a perfect solution to the digital misinformation problem. The technology is only as good as the data it is trained on, and there is a risk that AI-powered fact-checking tools may make mistakes and flag legitimate information as false. There is also the question of the political leanings of the people who are writing the AI program.
As Wired.com notes:
In January 2023, researchers at NewsGuard, a fact-checking technology company, put 100 prompts into ChatGPT relating to common false narratives around U.S. politics and health care. In 80 percent of its responses, the chatbot produced false and misleading claims.
Last week, Google’s artificial intelligence bot, Bard, wiped £100 billion from the tech giant’s parent company, Alphabet, after it showed inaccurate information in a promotional video shared on Twitter.
As the Daily Fetched reported, Alphabet posted a video of Bard via Twitter, touting it as a ‘launch pad for curiosity’ to simplify complex topics.
Google’s new AI Chatbot bot was asked what to tell a nine-year-old about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and its discoveries.
However, Bard responded by saying Webb was the first to take pictures of a planet outside of earth’s solar system. This was incorrect because it was actually done in 2004 by the European Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.
The incorrect answer caused the value of Alphabet to crash towards £ 1 trillion.
While Bill Gates did not highlight any pitfalls of using A.I., he framed “climate change” as an existential threat to humanity.
“It’s not optional to have a solution for climate,” he held, adding that carbon dioxide emissions must be brought “to zero” via “clean energy” and “green energy” substitutes.
Gates concluded by speculating that the war in Ukraine could “energize the recognition” of the supposed need to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.
“It’s now seen that in the 10- to 20-year-time frame that the goals of climate and the goals of energy security align,” he stated, “to say that investment in green infrastructure is even more of a priority than it was before the war.”