Photo by Cyrus Crossan on Unsplash 5


facebook icon facebook icon

2024 is touted as the “The Ultimate Election Year” by Time magazine and rightfully so as more than 50 countries prepare for national elections, roughly more than half the population of the planet. Some of the largest democracies up for elections from the stated list are India, the US, Mexico, Indonesia, and more, making 2024 a turning point in the geopolitical landscape for democracy.

Media is the fourth pillar of democracy with the responsibility of upholding the truth to the public, but a closer look at the current scenario would show you a different perspective. There is no one sinister plot at play, it is a series of unfortunate events catalyzed by well intentioned citizens misplacing their enthusiasm to further the misinformation chaos.

Systematic erosion of democracy may now be a field day with the advent of AI, specifically massification of it through Generative AI

Systematic erosion of democracy may now be a field day with the advent of AI, specifically massification of it through Generative AI. For instance, according to NewsGuard, an organization that tracks misinformation, just since May 2023, websites hosting AI-created false articles have increased by more than 1,000%, ballooning from 49 sites to more than 600. Propaganda operations that were usually menial tasks performed by underpaid cyber armies are now easily enabled by AI that is strikingly similar to official news. The lines of real and fake are easily blurred, even for the well informed and well read consumers and this freefall of misinformation may lead us soon to question the nature of news altogether.

In Here, Lies the Opportunity

If AI is the poison that contaminates the well of information, it is also the said antidote, or at least a key ingredient. The technology can also be deployed to detect misinformation and text generated by AI and also launching counter campaigns to contain the spread of misinformation.

Even tech companies are huddling to create proactive solutions to mitigate the risks. Industry leaders, including OpenAI, Microsoft, TikTok, X, Meta, Amazon, and Google, disclosed a new agreement, ‘Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections’, that aims to minimize the risk of AI interfering in the 2024 US elections. They have pledged a series of commitments that include developing new technologies to mitigate risks, detecting distribution on their platforms, more transparency and launching public awareness campaigns on media literacy.

However, this is mostly focused on the US elections, and as important as they may be, media literacy is a much bigger issue in the developing countries. An independent alternative powered by the honchos of the media industry could be a viable solution. It is an opportunity in disguise where the whole industry can unite to fight this deviant and also create a wholesome database of accurate news links.

Read more: Already AI is demanding due acknowledgement in creative works

This also creates an easy access for the user to consume news of their preferred news networks while comparing the headlines. If not through an industry initiative, but with help of veteran experts this is an achievable task. An unimpeachable mecca of news, the ultimate utopia or rather resetting to the original DD news in India or PBS in US days, no nonsense shows, just news. In fact, the silent period rule in large scale democracies like ours, could be even extended from 48 hours to 6 months as public perception is moulded constantly with accessibility of news on their phones and these laws predate the notification technology.

When it comes to AI, this is still a manageable expectation, for instance Midjourney’s CEO, David Holz was considering banning creation of political (in context of the US elections) images for 2024. If there are guardrails installed on the creation process by AI companies, it is a beast that can be possibly tamed.

Guest contributor Sanjay Sehgal is a Venture & Angel Investor, Philanthropist, & the Chairman & CEO at MSys Technologies, a product engineering services and digital transformation company. Any opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author.


facebook icon facebook icon
You may also like