This blog entry, within my AI series, is taking an offramp from the classroom (although it certainly has great merit there, as well). This entry is going to challenge all of us to wake up and use some common sense and our inner sense if you will.
Why should you care about this blog post? This question is quite simple to answer: Advancements in AI technology are being used more and more in the political spectrum to unlawfully quell voters, exerting influence on public opinion in elections worldwide.
For example, quite recently, a deepfake Biden robocall told residents not to vote! This manipulated phone message utilized AI to impersonate President Biden’s voice telling New Hampshire residents to forgo the Democratic presidential candidate polls.
This fraudulent audio phone message (which included typical Biden phrases such as “What a bunch of malarkey”) was disseminated to a multitude of voters in New Hampshire, instructing them to “save their vote for the November election.” Additionally, the call in question came from the personal cellphone number of Kathy Sullivan–former Democratic party chair. Thankfully, she notified the authorities, sharing that it was “outright election interference, and an attempt to harass me and other New Hampshire voters.”
At the time of this posting, it is unknown the extent of people who received the call. However, a spokesperson for Sullivan claimed it was in the vicinity of about twelve individuals.
While (at this time) it is unclear who made the calls, a representative of Dean Phillips (who is challenging Biden for the presidential candidate role) corroborated that Phillip’s team was not involved, along with the Trump campaign who confirmed in concert with this notion of not being involved.
While I'm sure this will not be the only time AI is utilized to steer public opinion one way or the other, it's worth asking a simple question to reflect upon: Why are humans so easily manipulated?
The susceptibility of us humans to be manipulated does not involve one simple answer, unfortunately. It is a complex phenomenon influenced by a variety of psychological, social, and cognitive factors. Some reasons include:
Cognitive Biases: Humans have inherent cognitive biases that affect decision-making. These biases can lead to errors in judgment and make individuals more susceptible to manipulation.
Emotional Influence: Emotions play a significant role in decision-making. Manipulators often exploit emotions to influence people's perceptions and actions.
Social Influence: Humans are social beings, and social dynamics can heavily impact behavior. Peer pressure, societal norms, and conformity can lead individuals to follow the crowd, even if it goes against their rational judgment.
Information Overload: In today's information age, individuals may face an overwhelming amount of information. This can lead to cognitive shortcuts, where people rely on heuristics or simplified decision-making processes, making them more vulnerable to manipulation.
Lack of Critical Thinking: Critical thinking skills are essential for evaluating information and making informed decisions. A lack of critical thinking can make individuals more susceptible to manipulation.
Trust: Humans tend to trust others, especially those in positions of authority or those perceived as experts. Manipulators may exploit this trust to influence people.
Psychological Tactics: Manipulators often use psychological tactics such as fear, persuasion, and manipulation of cognitive dissonance to control or influence individuals.
It's important to note that not everyone is equally susceptible to manipulation, and individuals vary in their levels of awareness and resistance. Education, critical thinking skills, and awareness of manipulation techniques can help mitigate susceptibility. Thereby, it is imperative to let go of your ego and truly ask yourself regarding the above seven bullets: What are my areas of weakness, and how can I strengthen these inadequacies?
Remember, I've never said endurance or growth is easy. To the contrary, it's far from it! And while our ego loves to do things we're good at (cause it feels good!), to truly grow, we all need to work at our weak areas (which the ego despises). Then and only then, can true growth occur. In summation, it may be pertinent to remind ourselves of the proverbial question AC/DC asked long ago about technical advancements: Who made who?
*Need help bringing your work environment into the fold of artificial intelligence progression and integration, feel free to contact us and bring New Horizons Global to help you along the journey!
Be on the lookout for Part 12 in this new blog post series from Teach4Endurance!