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AI-generated fake reports fool experts, study shows

What's New in Publishing 09 Jun 2021 06:29

Takeaways

· AIs can generate fake reports that are convincing enough to trick cybersecurity experts.

· These systems could set off an AI arms race between misinformation generators and detectors.

· If widely used, these AIs could hinder efforts to defend against cyberattacks.

If you use such social media websites as Facebook and Twitter, you may have come across posts flagged with warnings about misinformation. So far, most misinformation – flagged and unflagged – has been aimed at the general public. Imagine the possibility of misinformation – information that is false or misleading – in scientific and technical fields like cybersecurity, public safety and medicine.

There is growing concern about misinformation spreading in these critical fields as a result of common biases and practices in publishing scientific literature, even in peer-reviewed research papers. As a graduate student and as faculty members doing research in cybersecurity, we studied a new avenue of misinformation in the scientific community. We found that it’s possible for artificial intelligence systems to generate false information in critical fields like medicine and defense that is convincing enough to fool experts.

This misleading piece of information contains incorrect information concerning cyberattacks on airlines with sensitive real-time flight data. This false information could keep cyber analysts from addressing legitimate vulnerabilities in their systems by shifting their attention to fake software bugs. If a cyber analyst acts on the fake information in a real-world scenario, the airline in question could have faced a serious attack that exploits a real, unaddressed vulnerability.

The model was able to generate complete sentences and form an abstract allegedly describing the side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations and the experiments that were conducted. This is troubling both for medical researchers, who consistently rely on accurate information to make informed decisions, and for members of the general public, who often rely on public news to learn about critical health information. If accepted as accurate, this kind of misinformation could put lives at risk by misdirecting the efforts of scientists conducting biomedical research.

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