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China May Use AI-Generated Content to Disrupt Lok Sabha Polls, warns Microsoft


China is poised to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated content via social media platforms in an attempt to sway public opinion and bolster its geopolitical interests during elections. According to a report released by Microsoft, this strategy may extend to countries like IndiaSouth Korea, and the United States.

AI-Driven Disinformation Campaigns by China

Microsoft’s report highlights that China has already experimented with an AI-generated disinformation campaign during the Taiwan presidential election in January. This marked the first instance of a state-backed entity using AI-created content to influence a foreign election. The content was disseminated through various channels, including social media platforms.

The Upcoming Lok Sabha Polls

As India gears up for the Lok Sabha polls, Microsoft warns that China will likely create and distribute AI-generated content through social media channels. While the direct impact of such content on election results remains low, the company emphasizes that China’s increasing experimentation with memes, videos, and audio could prove more effective in the long run.

Trends and Targets

Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence insights reveal several notable trends from China and North Korea since June 2023. These trends indicate not only a doubling down on familiar targets but also an inclination toward more sophisticated influence techniques. Chinese cyber actors have broadly focused on three areas:

  1. South Pacific Islands: One set of Chinese actors extensively targeted entities across the South Pacific Islands.
  2. South China Sea Region: Another set of Chinese activity continued cyberattacks against regional adversaries in the South China Sea region.
  3. US Defense Industrial Base: A third group of Chinese actors compromised the US defense industrial base.

The Future Landscape

While the immediate impact of AI-generated content on election outcomes may be limited, China’s persistence in refining these techniques suggests a long-term strategy. As China’s influence campaigns continue to evolve, they may wield AI-enhanced content strategically to shape narratives and sway public opinion.

In conclusion, the use of AI-generated content in elections poses a significant challenge for democracies worldwide. Vigilance and awareness are crucial to safeguarding the integrity of electoral processes.

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