Global internet freedom will decline for 13 consecutive years from 2022 to 2023, and AI is not making things any better, according to a new report from the nonprofit organization Freedom House.
The annual Freedom on the Net Report blames AI for exacerbating oppression and censorship on the open web. The report said the new technology had been weaponized by governments in 16 countries “to sow doubt, smear opponents and influence public debate.”
“It’s no surprise that global internet freedom has declined for the 13th consecutive year this year,” said Allie Funk, co-author of the report.
“Advances in AI over the past year have deepened the crisis for internet freedom.”
Governments use AI to suppress free speech
Regarding the report, freedom house analyzed 70 countries representing 88% of the world’s internet user population. It found that people in a record 55 countries face legal repercussions for expressing their opinions online, demonstrating the decline of democracy worldwide.
People have been physically assaulted or even killed for their comments online, the newspaper said, with the most serious incidents occurring in Myanmar and Iran. The report concluded that China has the world’s worst environment for internet freedom for nine consecutive years.
Myanmar, which is still recovering from a military coup a few years ago, came in second.On the other hand, Iran report In the Philippines, the situation worsened after outgoing President Duterte blocked access to news sites critical of his rule.
Since the launch of OpenAI’s viral chatbot ChatGPT last November, the generative AI industry has grown at breakneck speed, with dire consequences for online freedom. Freedom House says AI has become a tool for disinformation, censorship and repression.
“The world’s most technologically advanced authoritarian governments are responding to innovations in AI chatbot technology to ensure their applications comply with censorship systems or to strengthen their censorship systems. ” states the report.
Additionally, several countries, including the United States and Europe, have legal frameworks that require governments to “require or encourage the implementation of machine learning on digital platforms to eliminate objectionable political, social, or religious speech.” It also added that it has been established.
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China: “The Internet is free, open and orderly”
Generative AI is often positioned as a tool to resist state censorship and surveillance, similar to Bitcoin and early versions of social media. But “more governments will continue to be interested in managing chatbots and their output,” said report co-author Allie Funk.
as VOA reportsFunk said China is “pioneering” a potentially dangerous approach in which central governments use chatbots to “embed censorship” by controlling the data used to train artificial intelligence chatbots. He said there was.
Chinese chatbots such as Baidu’s Ernie and Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen must follow the Chinese Communist Party’s strict censorship rules to ensure the “truth, accuracy, objectivity, and diversity” of their training data.
As MetaNews previously reported, content generated by China’s AI systems is required to reflect “socialist core values” and avoid information that undermines “state power.” Kian Västeinsson, senior research analyst for technology and democracy at Freedom House, told VOA:
“The Chinese live under a system of censorship and surveillance that is more extreme than anywhere else in the world.”
China has a long history of censoring the internet. Repeated censorship rules have forced global technology giants such as Google and Facebook out of the country. Chinese authorities have since banned ChatGPT, but it continues to thrive underground.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington denied that the country’s internet environment was oppressive. “China’s internet is free, open and orderly,” the spokesperson said, according to a VOA report.
“In order to protect the fair and legitimate rights and interests of citizens and businesses, it is lawful for China, as a sovereign nation, to manage the Internet in accordance with the law,” the official added.