Government and charities to combat AI fake news

Charities, industry and global partners among those ministers are talking to as part of efforts to address challenges posed by AI to online news.

Joe Lepper | 6th Sep 18
Image shows robot with books. The government says it's working with stakeholders within civil society and industry to tackle the issue of AI-generated fake news.

The government has said it is “actively engaging” with charities to tackle the threat of disinformation and propaganda posed by artificial intelligence.

Speaking in the House of Lords this week Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Minister Lord Ashton of Hyde said the government is concerned that artificial intelligence is being used to manipulate content online to create fake news.

He said that the government is working with stakeholders within civil society, industry and across the world to tackle the issue.

This comes ahead of a White Paper that is set to be published this winter outlining policies to improve online safety.

“The government recognise the problems that artificial intelligence and digitally manipulated content may pose,” said Lord Ashton.

“We are considering those issues carefully as part of cross-Whitehall efforts to tackle online manipulation and disinformation.

“We have seen no evidence that these or other techniques have been used to interfere successfully in the UK’s democratic processes, but we are actively engaging with international partners, industry and civil society to tackle the threat of disinformation and propaganda.”

Government tech policy “behind the curve”

Lord Ashton was responding to a question on the threat of artificial intelligence to democracy put forward by Labour MP Lord Haskel.

Lord Haskel is critical of government efforts to address challenges posed by artificial intelligence, saying that “in recent years the government have been behind the curve in the management of new technology”.

In response Lord Ashton added: “It is a truism to say that we are always behind the curve—I do not accept that—but whether it is to do with crime, defence or political ideas and things like that, there is always a balance between new technology and the ways to tackle it.

“We are taking this very seriously and looking across Whitehall at what we can do to educate people and to do more research on this.”