2018/12/04: If chatbots are approaching the stage where they can answer diagnostic questions as well or better than human doctors, then it’s possible they might eventually reach or surpass our levels of political sophistication. And it is naïve to suppose that in the future bots will share the limitations of those we see today: They’ll likely have faces and voices, names and personalities — all engineered for maximum persuasion. So-called “deep fake” videos can already convincingly synthesize the speech and appearance of real politicians.
Unless we take action, chatbots could seriously endanger our democracy, and not just when they go haywire.
The most obvious risk is that we are crowded out of our own deliberative processes by systems that are too fast and too ubiquitous for us to keep up with. Who would bother to join a debate where every contribution is ripped to shreds within seconds by a thousand digital adversaries?