Pentagon Awards AI Company Contract to Monitor, Neutralize ‘Viral Disinformation’

Bryan Jung
By Bryan Jung
September 6, 2023Science & Tech
Pentagon Awards AI Company Contract to Monitor, Neutralize ‘Viral Disinformation’
Agence France-Presse's (AFP) Medialab R&D Editorial manager Denis Teyssou delivers a speech in the 10th Global Fact-Checking Summit in Seoul, on June 30, 2023. (Jung Yeon-je/via Getty Images)

The Department of Defense has awarded a contract to an AI firm to deploy software that can predict and neutralize so-called “disinformation” threats on social media platforms.

New York-based artificial intelligence company Accrete AI, announced the Pentagon award in an Aug. 29 press statement.

U.S. Special Operations Command said it wants to analyze social media data and capture “emerging narratives” to quickly generate the information it needs to eliminate unfriendly trends in real time.

In 2022, Accrete delivered Argus, its AI software for open-source threat detection, to the DOD.

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, which was co-founded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, helped develop Argus last November.

The DOD paid Accrete millions of dollars for a five-year license for Argus to assist it in uncovering things like “behavioral anomalies indicative of potentially illicit activity that are too complex for humans to identify.”

The company’s CEO, Prashant Bhuyan, claims that the AI software will be able to predict and neutralize harmful “viral disinformation” even as it is still going viral.

The tool would be used by intelligence analysts and other specialists to predict real-time disinformation threats on social media.

“Synthetic media, including AI-generated viral narratives, deep fakes, and other harmful social media-based applications of AI, pose a serious threat to U.S national security and civil society,” said Mr. Bhuyan.

He described social media “an unregulated environment where adversaries routinely exploit reasoning vulnerabilities and manipulate behavior through the intentional spread of disinformation.”

“USSOCOM is at the tip of the spear in recognizing the critical need to identify and analytically predict social media narratives at an embryonic stage before those narratives evolve and gain traction. Accrete is proud to support USSOCOM’s mission.”

Version for Big Bussiness

However, the Pentagon will not be the only customer accessing Argus’ technology.

A civilian version, called Nebula Social, will be marketed to private corporations in order to monitor their online reputations and will be designed to protect against “customer pain points.”

He said that the private sector also has an urgent need for military-level information warfare tools to be made publicly available for their use.

“Government agencies and enterprises alike have an urgent need to manage a plethora of risks and opportunities posed by AI-generated synthetic media,” Mr. Bhuyan said.

“Companies are already experiencing significant economic damage caused by the spread of AI-generated viral disinformation and deep fakes manufactured by competitors, disgruntled employees, and other types of adversaries.”

The software is able to filter content by analyzing a company core values and responding to the most relevant issues first, before bad actors can negatively impact client behavior with AI-generated fake content.

“We believe that the market for AI that can predict and neutralize malign AI-generated synthetic media is about to explode,” predicted Mr. Bhuyan.

The Epoch Times reached out to Accrete for comment.

Battle Over Government-Led Censorship Escalates

Last month, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana issued a temporary court order, restricting the Biden administration’s contact with Big Tech, amid a lawsuit over allegations of ties to government online censorship operations to silence dissent from conservatives.

In court documents obtained by Politico, the judge’s preliminary injunction barred numerous federal agencies from engaging with social media companies, with the exception of the DOD.

Judge Doughty wrote in his 155-page opinion (pdf), “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’”

Meanwhile, the European Union on Aug. 25, began enforcement of its Digital Services Act which could lead to billions in fines for social media companies for failing to comply with speech monitoring rules against “disinformation.”

The EU law also attempts to prevent the spread of personally harmful content or disinformation, ban or limit certain user-targeting advertising practices, and make companies share some internal data with regulators.

The European Commission will be the ultimate decider on what is considered “disinformation.”

European Commissioner Thierry Breton, said he vowed to “thoroughly enforce the DSA and fully use our new powers to investigate and sanction platforms where warranted.”

From The Epoch Times

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