‘Dangerous’ AI offers to write fake news

By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter

Publishedduration27 August 2019shareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightGetty Images

An artificial intelligence system that generates realistic stories, poems and articles has been updated, with some claiming it is now almost as good as a human writer.

The text generator, built by research firm OpenAI, was originally considered "too dangerous" to make public because of the potential for abuse.

But now a new, more powerful version of the system – that could be used to create fake news or abusive spam on social media – has been released.

The BBC, along with some AI experts, decided to try it out.

The model, called GPT-2, was trained on a dataset of eight million web pages, and is able to adapt to the style and content of the initial text given to it.

It can finish a Shakespeare poem as well as write articles and epithets.

At the time, the firm said: "Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model. As an experiment in responsible disclosure, we are instead releasing a much smaller model for researchers to experiment with."

As a result, the released version had far fewer parameters – phrases and sentences – than used during training.

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This month, OpenAI decided to expand the parameters, offering a much broader database of training data.

Tech news site The Next Web said of the update: "This one works almost good enough to use as a general artificial intelligence for text generation – almost."

Article author Tristan Greene added: I'm terrified of GPT-2 because it represents the kind of technology that evil humans are going to use to manipulate the population – and in my opinion that makes it more dangerous than any gun."

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