Microsoft notes little AI impact on EU election disinformation

Smith stated that Microsoft has not witnessed any significant effort to exploit the European Parliament elections thus far.

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Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, announced that the company has yet to observe significant use of AI to create disinformation campaigns in the upcoming European Parliament elections. This comes as Microsoft plans to invest 33.7 billion Swedish crowns ($3.21 billion) to expand its cloud and AI infrastructure in Sweden over the next two years. Smith acknowledged the risks of AI-generated deepfakes and abusive content but noted that the European elections have not been targeted heavily by such efforts.

Smith highlighted that while AI-generated fakes have been increasingly used in elections in countries like India, the United States, Pakistan, and Indonesia, the European context appears less affected. For instance, in India, deepfake videos of Bollywood actors criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and supporting the opposition went viral. In the EU, a Russian-language video falsely claimed that citizens were fleeing Poland for Belarus, but the EU’s disinformation team debunked it.

Ahead of the European Parliament elections from June 6-9, Microsoft’s training for candidates to monitor AI-related disinformation seems to be paying off. Despite not declaring victory prematurely, Smith emphasised that current threats focus more on events like the Olympics than the elections. This development follows the International Olympic Committee’s ban on the Russian Olympic Committee for recognising councils in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. Microsoft plans to release a detailed report on this issue soon.