USA is preparing for use artificial intelligence as a key tool in war conflicts. As reported The Interceptthe Special Operations Command (SOCOM) plans use deepfakes to carry out propaganda campaigns that directly influence their operations. A document published by SOCOM’s Science and Technology Directorate lists a “wish list” of technologies needed for the battlefield, including AI, machine learning, and capabilities to break connected objects (IoT).
While the procurement document dates from 2020, SOCOM updated it in late 2020 to include a section referring to deepfakes and espionage. The “Military Information Support Operations (MISO)” section focuses on obtaining technology for “influence operations, digital deception, communication disruption, and disinformation campaigns at the tactical edge and operational levels.”
The United States seeks to collect data through public channels, such as social networks or local media, to elaborate its operations. SOCOM plans hack devices connected to the internet of things (IoT) to obtain information from local populations and study it. This will serve for promote messages that would be well received with the help of artificial intelligence.
According to the document, the government would use deepfakes to “generate messages and influence operations through non-traditional channels”. In doing so, the United States will take a path similar to Russia and other nations that take advantage of AI to spread false information. Despite the fact that its legislators have exposed the dangers of using this technology, special operations groups want to take advantage.
The US is already an expert in spreading fake newsonly now it will use AI
Disinformation campaigns have proven to be a reliable weapon when it comes to changing people’s opinions. The United States has decades of experience in this field, thanks to his destabilization campaigns in countries of Latin America, Africa or Asia. The government not only invests millions of dollars to derail governments, but also it is worth fake news and other tactics to push their ideology.
The fact that SOCOM plans to use deepfakes in special operations does not surprise anyone. The technology has proven its effectiveness in viral videos such as Tom Cruise’s TikTok, or FakeApp, the program that inserted the faces of famous Hollywood actresses into porn videos. AI is also effective in tricking people into investing their cryptocurrency on hack platforms.
Chris Meserole, head of the AI and Emerging Technologies Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said the United States should not fight fire with fire.
The United States should be doing all it can to strengthen democracy by building support for shared notions of truth and reality. Deepfakes do the opposite. By calling into question the credibility of all content and information, whether real or synthetic, they ultimately erode the foundations of democracy itself.
During the war in Ukraine, fake videos have been the order of the day. Russia promoted a deepfake where Volodimir Zelensky announced his surrender, which went viral on Facebook and VK. Some Russian media outlets broadcast the content on their platforms, claiming it was real. Although it was easy to perceive that it was an altered videothousands of people believed that the president had recorded it.
The use of AI in US special operations is not limited to deepfakes. another report of The Intercept uncovered how the Pentagon used social media to influence users in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. A report from the Stanford Internet Observatory show how thousands of Twitter accounts published fake news to change opinion about the government of Iran. A constant in all is that the user photos were created through machine learning.