• Alysa Salzberg

Was this article written by a robot?


Soon, this is the question you might find yourself asking every time you read something on the internet. Or maybe it will be “Was this novel written by a robot?” or “this manifesto”, or “this email”….


Until very recently, computer-generated texts were incoherent and easy to spot. But a fascinating article and accompanying video reveal that advances in machine learning now allow AI to generate completely original stories, articles, and so on, that could very easily be mistaken for something written by actual humans.


This may seem like a passing curiosity to some, or maybe a way to bypass paying for freelance writers for others. But as the video points out, it can be used for far worse purposes (yes, “far worse” still applies if you’re a fellow human freelance writer).


To give just one example, AI could be used to generate false emails that would flood government representatives’ inboxes, complaining about or bringing up issues that most of the population isn’t actually concerned with.


Some programmers have created filters that can detect computer-generated text, but not all people might think to use that, and not all websites or email programs might be equipped with it.


For now, the best way to determine whether, say, a news story you’re reading was written by a person or generated by AI is to look for inaccuracies in what’s being said. Some of these may be subtle or cleverly embedded into an otherwise well-written text.


For example, Joss Fong points out how a false, AI generated news piece about the discovery of a winged horse describes the creature as “mouse-like” and then, later on, as “the size of a horse”.


Still, detecting details like this mean careful reading, and not all people – especially those of us looking for a quick injection of information online – want to or are able to do that.


So, will the machines win out, flooding us with false information?


Read on (and also be sure to watch the video embedded in the article) to learn more about new, very clever AI and the texts it’s created…and is creating….




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