At the risk of stating the obvious, AI-powered chatbots are hot right now. The tools, which can write essays, emails and more given a few text-based instructions, have captured the attention of tech hobbyists and enterprises alike. OpenAI's ChatGPT, arguably the progenitor, has an estimated more than 100 million users. Via an API, brands including Instacart, Quizlet and Snap have begun building it into their respective platforms, boosting the usage numbers further. But to the chagrin of some within the developer community, the organizations building these chatbots remain part of a well-financed, well-resourced and exclusive club.
Personalized, real-time chatbots could share conspiracy theories in increasingly credible and persuasive ways, researchers say, smoothing out human errors like poor syntax and mistranslations and advancing beyond easily discoverable copy-paste jobs. Soon after ChatGPT debuted last year, researchers tested what the artificial intelligence chatbot would write after it was asked questions peppered with conspiracy theories and false narratives. The results -- in writings formatted as news articles, essays and television scripts -- were so troubling that the researchers minced no words. "This tool is going to be the most powerful tool for spreading misinformation that has ever been on the internet," said Gordon Crovitz, a co-chief executive of NewsGuard, a company that tracks online misinformation and conducted the experiment last month. "Crafting a new false narrative can now be done at dramatic scale, and much more frequently -- it's like having A.I. agents contributing to disinformation."
More than 500 websites have promoted misinformation about the coronavirus – including debunked claims about vaccines, according to a firm that rates the credibility of websites. NewsGuard announced Wednesday that, of the more than 6,700 websites it has analyzed, 519 have published false information about COVID-19. Some of the sites publish dubious health information or political conspiracy theories, while others were "created specifically to spread misinformation about COVID-19," the company says on its website. "It's become virtually impossible for people to tell the difference between a generally reliable site and an untrustworthy site," Gordon Crovitz, co-founder of NewsGuard, told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview. "And that is why there is such a big business in publishing this information."
The American Federation of Teachers president was tasked with laying out'the sheer breadth of Republican attacks' on public schools during an MSNBC appearance. FIRST ON FOX: Republican lawmakers sent scathing letters to teachers union American Federation of Teachers and journalism rating tool NewsGuard on Wednesday demanding information on their anti-misinformation partnership that would put NewsGuard on the devices of millions of American children. "We can't let this kind of left-wing propaganda into our schools, or let groups condemn so-called'misinformation' while peddling it themselves. I'm not surprised that AFT is teaming up with an organization that ranks Chinese state-run media sites higher than American conservative sites, but I refuse to let it happen without a fight," House Education Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital. "AFT has long demonstrated that its priority is politics, not education. It is painfully clear that NewsGuard does not have the judgement necessary to teach our nation's children how to tell truth from fiction," Foxx continued.
In recent weeks, NewsGuard, the internet news watchdog service, has been escalating its battle against misinformation by opening a Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center and offering its service for free to all internet users until July 1. This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry. NewsGuard is a desktop browser extension that displays credibility and transparency content scoring and is available by subscription. It launched in August 2018 and typically costs $2.95 per month for a desktop user. Until recently, only Microsoft Edge mobile device users on iOS and Android had unlimited free access to the service.