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  • Writer's pictureTITAN

Report From Meet the Future of AI Conference: Countering Advanced and Sophisticated Disinformation

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

With our lives now dominated by technology and information, the issue of disinformation has become a significant concern for societies all around the world. Recognising the urgent need to tackle this problem head-on, a pioneering event titled "Meet the Future of AI: Countering Advanced and Sophisticated Disinformation" recently took place both online and in-person at the VRT site in Brussels. Hosted by European Research and Innovation projects, TITAN, Veraai, AI4Media, AI4Trust, as well as the EC, this event brought together journalists, policymakers, tech experts and innovators to shed light on the challenges of disinformation, explore the potential and risks of AI, and showcase state-of-the-art technology solutions developed by projects supported by the European Commission.

Project Officer, Peter Freiss, holding a microphone standing in front of his presentation
Project Officer Peter Freiss Speaking at Meet the Future of AI Event

Below is a high-level dive into the highlights of this important gathering.

Opening Remarks

Conference host, Luc Van Bakel from VRT kickstarted proceedings by welcoming delegates and speakers before introducing the conference topics to be discussed throughout the day. Next, Kristina Stump from the European Commission shared important messages via video message outlining EC support in countering the challenges presented by disinformation through the innovative use of AI technology.


Panel 1: Threats and opportunities of generative AI for mis- and disinformation

Moderated by Professor Gina Neff from the University of Cambridge Minderoo Center, this panel introduced delegates to the fact personalised disinformation is now one of societies biggest threats, and explored how astonishing results can now be created by generative AI both to generate, and to counter, false information.


Noemi Krack from KU Leuven helped the audience understand that the impact of this technology on public opinion, democratic processes, and social cohesion cannot be understated. "We need AI to counter AI risk and train models to spot disinformation tactics and techniques at scale" explained Henry Parker from Logically AI. However, there are potential risks associated with AI, such as algorithmic biases, the amplification of existing societal divisions, and the erosion of privacy.


The responsible development and deployment of AI technologies thus emerged as a crucial topic during the discussions, emphasizing the need for comprehensive frameworks and ethical guidelines. To use ethically and successfully "It's important to understand the relationship the users have with AI" said Marc Faddoul from AI Forensics, he stressed that one of the core concerns around AI is the intentional use of language models to create disinformation. Ollie Zachrison from Swedish Radio told the audience that to get use right in public service media "we need to be open to challenges, mistakes and successes".

Twitter image summing up panel 1 discussions
Live tweet from Panel 1 discussions

Panel 2: Policy implications and challenges to fight disinformation

The second panel was moderated by Alexandre Alaphilippe from EU DisInfo Lab focusing on regulation that could have a direct impact on the AI use in Europe. Alberto Rabbachin from the EC outlined the EU perspective surrounding the fight against disinformation and Generative AI introducing everyone to the AI Act. Francois Lavoir from the European Broadcasting Union shared the work of Couler3 radio channel who ran an experiment with an AI-hosted radio day. On this day, 5 host voices were cloned (with permission) and AI generated text (no news allowed) and programmed all the music. The results proved to be provocative and stimulating, but were not viable to take forward as AI still has far to go with empathy and humour. Together, the panel emphasised the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders in countering disinformation effectively. Governments, technology companies, civil society organizations, and researchers all have vital roles to play in developing comprehensive strategies and solutions. Luca Bertuzzi from EURACTIV told delegates "we need tech people, policymakers, practitioners and journalists to team up" and help find ways to regulate technology which changes every month. EDMO's Paula Gori echoed this sentiment saying the observatory is all about joining forces and avoiding duplication of work. By fostering partnerships and sharing best practices, it becomes possible to develop policy that builds resilient societies that are equipped to counter the threats posed by advanced and sophisticated disinformation campaigns.

Six panellists sitting in front of a large screen
Paula Gori, EDMO, speaking on Panel 2

Panel 3: The role of critical thinking in addressing Future AI tools to fight disinformation

This panel was dedicated to stimulating discussions on the interdisciplinary approach needed to fight disinformation. Moderated by TITAN coordinator, Francesco Saverio Nucci from Engineering SpA conversation centered around how generative AI could foster critical thinking among citizens, media professionals and internet users. Professor Antonella Poce from the University of Rome said "we need to be aware of what critical thinking is; it is essential we understand how to select information. Which information is true and which is not." Philosopher Giannis Stamatellos from the Institute of Philosphy & Technology outlined the concept of critical thinking and the Socratic way of asking logical questions in order to arrive at a conclusion of validity. Finally Artists Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine co-creators of Soft Evidence challenged delegates to learn and respond through feelings, states and sensory perceptions as they encounter false information and help rethink the relationship between image and reality.


Panel 4: Tech and strategic approaches to detecting and countering AI generated content

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of technology solutions developed by European Commission funded projects to address the challenges posed by disinformation. Panels showcased innovative solutions that leverage AI and other cutting-edge technologies to enhance fact-checking, improve media literacy, and foster a more resilient information ecosystem. Delegates had the opportunity to learn about tools and initiatives designed to empower users, journalists, and policymakers with the ability to detect and counter disinformation effectively. These initiatives demonstrated the commitment of the European Commission to combating disinformation through collaborative efforts and technological innovation. Moderated by Joachen Spangenberg from Deutsche Welle the session featured.

Riccardo Gakkottim FBK (AI4Trust), Luisa Verdoliva, University of Naples and Akis Papadopoulos, CERTH (vera.ai), Massimo Magalidi, Engineering SpA and Antonis Ramfos, ATC (TITAN) and Dr Filareti Tsalakanidou, CERTH (AI4Media).

Antonis Ramfos from ATC speaking on Panel 4
Antonis Ramfos from ATC speaking on Panel 4

Close

Project Officer, Peter Friess, EC, and Kalina Bontcheva, University of Sheffield, closed the conference reflecting on what had been shared and heard during the day. Meet the Future of AI shed light on the multifaceted challenges of disinformation and showcased the potential of AI as a tool for countering this growing threat. The discussions highlighted the necessity for responsible AI development, while also showcasing the technology solutions being created by the European Commission. By bringing together experts, policymakers, and innovators, this event fostered collaboration and knowledge sharing, paving the way for a more informed, resilient, and trustworthy information landscape. As we move forward, it is imperative that we continue to prioritise the development of ethical AI and leverage technology to defend truth, democracy, and the collective well-being of our societies.


Recordings and more information will be available soon. Subscribe for updates in the Footer below.


Photo credits and thanks to Joachen Spangberg, from Vera ai.

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