Artificial intelligence needs to be controlled to stop populations being manipulated, an expert has warned.
Dr Eugene Lipov, a trauma specialist and anaesthesiologist, fears otherwise it will become easier to exploit people online in the future using misinformation.
He said we spend too long on social media and need to unplug more as it’s “taking a huge toll on our mental health and physical health”.
Dr Lipov, the chief medical officer for the Stella Center in Chicago where he treats PTSD patients, said AI can be a positive tool.
But he raised concerns about it being used to manipulate large populations, as well as the use of misinformation on social media.
The trauma expert admitted he is worried “it’s going to get much worse” when it comes to manipulating people online.
He said: “I am not afraid of AI. I am afraid of people who drive it.
“AI can help you fly a shuttle to the moon without killing anybody. AI can be used to manipulate elections or you can take down Wall Street.
“Is a gun good or bad? If the bear is coming at you, the gun is great.
“If you put it to your forehead, it’s not so good.”
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He said it comes down to how it is used.
The doctor said: “I think AI will help us reach the stars.
“We’ll have artificial intelligence in super computers solve those complex problems of navigation and physics. That’s amazing.
“It’s where it’s used against large populations to manipulate them and not give them a chance. That’s not particularly cool.”
There “absolutely” needs to be international controls on AI systems, he added.
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He said: “Who is controlling it, and why?
“What I am hoping we will see is we see certified areas which are without manipulation as much as possible.”
But if people want to get information that verifies their beliefs, it will still happen regardless, he added.
And it’s easy to “bypass a lot of rational thinking” by appealing to people’s basic instincts like fear.
All societies can do is make sure there is reliable information available online, as misinformation leads to poor decisions, Dr Lipov said.
It follows predictions AI-created deepfake videos will make up 90% of online content in just five years.
Political commentator Nina Schick warned it could threaten democracy and help dictators dupe entire populations into believing whatever they want them to believe.
She said: "It can be used of course as a tool of political propaganda.
"But the other thing about deep fakes that’s really important to politics is that in a world where anything can be faked, including video of you saying and doing things that you never did, everything can be denied.”
And it comes amid warnings AI-created deepfake influencers are taking over Instagram and could replace big stars like Kim Kardashian.
The computer-animated characters, known as virtual influencers, are pictured in real-life settings online and earn their developers huge sums.
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