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Microsoft warns of Chinese AI disruption in US, South Korea, and India elections


Microsoft has issued a warning that China is poised to disrupt elections in the United States, South Korea, and India this year using artificial intelligence-generated content.

This comes after a test run conducted by Beijing in Taiwan, where AI-generated content was used to influence voters away from a pro-sovereignty candidate.

According to a report by Microsoft's threat intelligence team, the tech firm anticipates Chinese state-backed cyber groups, along with North Korea, to target high-profile elections in 2024. The report highlights the likelihood of China creating and disseminating AI-generated content through social media platforms to sway opinions in these elections.

"While the impact of such content in swaying audiences remains low, China’s increasing experimentation in augmenting memes, videos, and audio will continue – and may prove effective down the line," Microsoft stated in the report.

The report notes that China had previously attempted an AI-generated disinformation campaign during the Taiwanese presidential election in January. This marked the first instance of a state-backed entity using AI-made content to influence a foreign election.

A Beijing-backed group known as Storm 1376, or Spamouflage, was particularly active during the Taiwanese election. The group utilized AI-generated memes and fake audio content to spread baseless claims about the pro-sovereignty candidate, William Lai.

Microsoft identified one instance where an AI-generated news anchor made unsubstantiated allegations about Lai's personal life.

Furthermore, Chinese groups have been observed mounting influence campaigns in the United States. Microsoft mentioned that Beijing-backed actors are using social media platforms to pose divisive questions and gather intelligence on key voting demographics ahead of the US Presidential election.

The report comes amid heightened concerns about cyber threats originating from China.

Recently, a White House-appointed review board highlighted "a cascade of errors" by Microsoft that allowed state-backed Chinese cyber operators to breach email accounts of senior US officials. Last month, both the US and UK governments accused China-backed hackers of conducting cyber campaigns targeting various sectors, including politics, journalism, and business.

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TAGS:MicrosoftChinaFake NewsAIArtificial IntelligenceElectionsUS ElectionsSouth Korea ElectionsIndia Elections
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