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Research Report

THE MADCOM FUTURE:: HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL ENHANCE COMPUTATIONAL PROPAGANDA, REPROGRAM HUMAN CULTURE, AND THREATEN DEMOCRACY… AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.

Matt Chessen
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2017
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 30
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep03728
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-11)

    Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will soon enable highly persuasive and manipulative machine-generated communications. Imagine an automated system that uses the mass of online data and easily available marketing databases to infer your personality, political preferences, religious affiliation, demographic data, and interests. It knows which news websites and social-media platforms you frequent, and it controls multiple user accounts on those platforms. The system dynamically creates content—everything from comments to full articles—specifically designed to plug into your particular psychological frame and achieve a particular outcome. This content could be a collection of real facts, outright lies, or a mix...

  2. (pp. 12-16)

    The rise of MADCOMs can lead to several possible scenarios over the next ten years. Section II of this paper explores the implications of these scenarios for individuals, organizations (corporations, nonprofits, political parties, charities, and other nongovernmental groups), and governments. Section III provides recommendations for how the public should respond to the threats and opportunities posed by MADCOMs.

    A World Gone MADCOM: Global Information Warfare—MADCOMs dominate conversations online, and the information environment devolves into a morass of manipulative machine-driven speech.

    Muddling Through: Measures and Countermeasures—MADCOM countermeasures spur propagandists to develop more sophisticated tools and an arms race ensues—...

  3. (pp. 17-22)

    Even in a best-case scenario, AI technology will profoundly shape the future of human civilization. AI tools will shape our culture, make decisions for us, and serve as loyal machine companions and assistants. Eventually, sentient AIs may take humanity into a post-scarcity civilization—if we can survive the MADCOM years.

    How do we get to this ideal future, in which MADCOMs are used for the benefit of humanity, and not to its detriment?

    As a first essential step, the community of democracies must recognize the serious threats posed by MADCOMs, computational propaganda, and weaponized narratives, and must move aggressively to...