Microsoft's accusation of China using AI to interfere in foreign elections 'baseless'

2024-04-08 08:55:25Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

On Sunday, Chinese AI experts slammed a report issued by Microsoft as it claimed that China is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to manipulate elections in other countries. The report is politically motivated and lacks both evidence and authority, analysts said.

China will attempt to disrupt elections in the U.S., South Korea and India this year with artificial intelligence-generated content, the U.S. tech firm Microsoft said in a report on Friday.

Microsoft said that "at a minimum" China will create and distribute through social media AI-generated content that "benefits their positions in these high-profile elections." However, the company also said that the impact of AI-made content was minor.

AI experts said that Microsoft's report fails to provide solid evidence to prove the authenticity of the related social media accounts and their connection to the Chinese government.

"From a technical perspective, the use of AI to generate text content is already very common around the world, so why is China to blame? This report has been speculating without evidence," Zhu Rongsheng, an assistant researcher at the Center for Strategic and Security Studies, Tsinghua University, shared his insight with the Global Times on Sunday.

When answering a query regarding the U.S. presidential election in January, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the presidential election is the domestic affair of the U.S.. China, committed to the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs, would never interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

A technology company releasing a politically motivated report without evidence lacks authority, experts say. With no evidence, this report from Microsoft proves that U.S. companies and the U.S. government have formed a chain of interests, Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

When U.S. companies need to use political means to suppress their competitors, the U.S. government can go beyond market mechanisms to suppress companies from other countries. U.S. companies can also use reasons related to national security to curb the development of their competitors. This report demonstrates that in the fiercely competitive field of AI, U.S. companies seek to discredit and suppress their competitors through improper means, Yang pointed out.

This is not the first time Microsoft has released such a report. On September 7, 2023, Microsoft researchers said on a blog that they found what they believe is a network of fake, Chinese-controlled social media accounts seeking to influence U.S. voters by using artificial intelligence.

"In recent years, some Western media and think tanks have accused China of using artificial intelligence to create fake social media accounts to spread so-called 'pro-China' information," Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said in 2023 in response to an email to CNN when asked for comment on the Microsoft report. "Such remarks are full of prejudice and malicious speculation against China, which China firmly opposes," he added.

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