A recent fake photo depicting an explosion at the Pentagon went viral on social media platforms, demonstrating the power and potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). The AI-generated image caused a brief sell-off in the US stock market and a “flash crash” in the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin temporarily dropping to around $26,500 before recovering to over $27,300.
The image was initially shared by a now-suspended verified Twitter account, and major media outlets, including Russia Today, contributed to the spread of the fake news. However, digital investigators and officials were quick to debunk the false claim, pointing out inconsistencies in the image and a lack of first-hand witness reports.
This incident is not the first time that AI-generated images have deceived the public. Other examples include a photo of Pope Francis wearing a designer jacket, a fabricated arrest of former US President Donald Trump, and deep fakes of celebrities endorsing cryptocurrency scams. These instances have led some tech experts to call for a six-month halt on the development of advanced AI until proper safety guidelines are established.
Earlier this year, the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy, a prominent tech ethics group, filed a complaint with the FTC requesting a halt to the commercial releases of GPT-4, an advanced AI system. The group cited privacy and public safety concerns, describing the tool as “biased, deceptive, and a risk to privacy and public safety.” Some users reported being distressed by the system’s quick and human-like responses to queries.
US President Joe Biden has also warned of the potential dangers of AI and emphasized the responsibility of technology companies to ensure that their products are safe for public use before releasing them.
On one hand, the powerful capabilities of AI can enable incredible advancements in various industries, while on the other hand, these same capabilities can be misused by bad actors to spread misinformation and chaos online. Establishing proper guidelines and safeguards is essential to striking a delicate balance between innovation and public safety.
In conclusion, the recent incident involving the AI-generated Pentagon explosion image serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by advanced AI technology. While AI can undoubtedly bring numerous benefits to society, we must also remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to ensure its ethical and responsible development and use.