Home Tech Meta’s Nick Clegg plays down AI’s threat to global democracy

Meta’s Nick Clegg plays down AI’s threat to global democracy

0 comment
Meta’s Nick Clegg plays down AI’s threat to global democracy

Generative AI is being overstated as an election risk, according to Meta’s Nick Clegg, who argues the technology is more useful for defending democracy than attacking it.

Speaking at the Meta AI Day event in London on Tuesday, the social network’s head of Global Affairs said the evidence from major elections already held around the world this year is that technology such as large language models, visual and video generators and speech synthesis tools are not used in practice to undermine democracy.

“It is right that we must be alert and vigilant,” Clegg said. “But from the major elections that have already taken place this year in Taiwan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, it is striking how little these tools have been used on a systematic basis to actually undermine and disrupt the elections.

“I would urge everyone to consider AI as a sword, not just a shield, when it comes to bad content. The biggest reason why we’re getting better and better at reducing the bad content that we don’t want on our walls, on Instagram and Facebook and so on, is for one reason: AI.”

Meta is working with industry peers, Clegg added, to try to further improve these systems. “There is an increasing level of collaboration within the sector, especially this year with the unprecedented number of elections.”

However, the landscape will likely change over the next month due to Meta’s own actions in space. The company will launch Llama 3, the most advanced GPT-style major language model, in the coming weeks, with a full release expected by the summer, Clegg said.

Unlike many of its peers, Meta has historically released these AI models as open source, with few restrictions on their use. That makes it harder to prevent them from being reused by bad actors, but also allows outside observers to more closely examine the systems’ accuracy and bias.

Clegg said: “One of the reasons why the entire cybersecurity industry is built on top of open source technology is precisely because if you apply the wisdom of the crowds to new technologies, you will get many more eyes on the potential flaws rather than just trusting on one corporate entity playing Whac-A-Mole with their own systems”.

Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist and one of three men known as the “godfathers of AI,” argued that AI poses a greater risk to democracy: the potential dominance of a few closed models. “In the near future, all our interactions with the digital world will be through AI assistants,” LeCun predicted. “If our entire digital diet is mediated by AI systems, we need them to be diverse, for the same reason we need a free and diverse press. Every AI system is biased in some way and is trained on certain data.

“Who is going to deal with all the languages, cultures, value systems and interest centers in the world? This cannot be done by a handful of companies on the West Coast of the US,” LeCun said.

You may also like