How Were Chatbots Used to Manipulate Public Perception During the Pandemic?
The Technology Wars, Part 1
Do we even know who we're chatting with on the internet?
What proportion of tweets are simply bots training on the human signal stream while pushing political or corporate agendas?
Igor Chudov caught wind of an article published in Nature about the use of chatbots for pushing vaccination during the experimental mass transfection campaign.
Here is what I would like to add to the conversation…
Augmentation, Not A.I.
Sure, A.I. chatbots have become good enough to fool a portion of audiences—at least for short durations. The 10% of the time I choose to engage with them on Telegram, I usually ask silly questions like what color underwear turns a cyborg on.
On a more serious note, I have a theory about a second way in which chatbots were used during the Pandemic. I've shared it privately with some friends, and some people in the medical authoritarianism resistance circles like J.J. Couey and Bret Weinstein.
The idea is this: augmentation of experts or other smart people by chatbots with good large language models (LLMs) can elevate their knowledge base (assuming the knowledge base they work with is good). But here is the worrying part: chatbots can elevate the appearance of the level of expertise of the expert regardless of whether or not the information is correct!
Even worse, the effect can be more powerful in groups. Suppose that some chatbot was distributed, unknown to the public, to a few thousand willing influencers. The result could be,
The steering of the influencers with biased, manipulative, or fabricated (dis)information.
The effect on the public would be like viewing the appearance of consensus among experts. To many, this is an even more powerful form of parasocial dunbar hacking.
An implicit Asch conformity experiment on physicians and scientists not otherwise engaged in the primary conversation, reducing the chance that new opposition confidantes might step in to sort the public's Asch conformity experiment out.
Honestly, I believe that this is what I saw when I stepped into social media forums and discussions with determined vaccine partisan physicians on Clubhouse. In fact, it was that wall of unnatural certainty that led me to start analyzing the Our World in Data COVID numbers to see that more vaccination meant more disease and death (by COVID), and that six nations did worse after vaccination than before (at least through the start of November 2021 when I was tracking those statistics weekly).
Do you have any knowledge of, or observations suggesting the use of chatbots to assist influencers?