Antony Blinken

Blinken Bets Big on AI to Combat “Misinformation”

(Reclaim The Net)—The current US secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, has revealed that his department is testing AI-based tools as a way to fight “misinformation.”

In conversation with the State Department’s chief data and AI officer Matthew Graviss, he cited a number of initiatives – such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Washington’s Enterprise AI Strategy as the foundations for the ultimate goal – using AI to “advance our foreign policy.”

The second part of the push to equip the State Department with AI tools is to – “strengthen this institution.”

According to Blinken, his department is a leader within the government when it comes to testing and “harnessing” the technology. Some reports speak about this as combating whatever happens to be considered foreign disinformation.

And while on the subject of meddling, the Washington Times says AI tests are “part of an ambitious media monitoring and analysis project that spans the globe.”

As sinister as that may sound, packaging the message as the need to combat (only) “foreign disinformation” certainly makes the policy more palatable at home, where the department’s past activity features in congressional probes into government-orchestrated online censorship.

This scrutiny is presented as something hindering the Department of State’s “anti-disinformation” work – while the tools now in development are quite openly described as a possible different means “to pursue the same goals.”

Blinken’s remarks reveal how the technology is used seemingly innocuously as a (translation and summarization) tool “in multilateral organizations;” but then he praised the ability of AI-powered tools to make mass surveillance (“monitoring”) cover a much larger number of media, making its scope and scale “vast,” as the report put it.

And also – combat “disinformation” – which Blinken quite dramatically refers to as “one of the poisons in the international system today.”

“We have one program that we’re using that is able to basically ingest a million articles every day from around the world — to be able to do that in a couple hundred countries in over a hundred languages — and then immediately translate, synthesize and give you a clear picture of what’s happening in the information space immediately,” the secretary is quoted as saying.

But given the scale of the operation, and the shortcomings of the current limitations of AI – those in the know might wish Blinken good luck with the accuracy and reliability of getting that “immediate, clear picture.”

However, when the “AI weapon” is pointed at online platforms as a means of identifying and censoring “disfavored” speech, it is objectively more likely to be efficient.

And the State Department is no stranger to such – strange given its mission – activities: after all, it is the home of the investigated-by-Congress and highly controversial Global Engagement Center.