This point is reflected in a recent paper from the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review about the role generative AI might play in the spread of false info worldwide. In it, the authors write that concerns about the effects of the technology are “overblown.” While, yes, gen AI theoretically lets people proliferate misinformation at a futuristic rate, those who seek out this misinformation—often those who have “low trust in institutions … [or are] strong partisans”—already have a surfeit of familiar nonsense to pursue, from conspiracy theory websites to 4chan forums. There is no demand for more.
Given the creativity humans have showcased throughout history to make up (false) stories and the freedom that humans already have to create and spread misinformation across the world, it is unlikely that a large part of the population is looking for misinformation they cannot find online or offline,” the paper concludes. Moreover, misinformation only gains power when people see it, and considering the time people have for viral content is finite, the impact is negligible.
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