Microsoft warns China may use AI-generated content to disrupt upcoming polls in India, USA

Microsoft warns against Chinese AI-generated contents ahead of polls in India, USA
A file picture of Indian PM Narendra Modi interacting with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Photo Courtesy: Bill Gates X page

Technology major Microsoft has warned that China may use Artificial Intelligence-generated content to disrupt upcoming polls in India, South Korea and the USA.

“China is using fake social media accounts to poll voters on what divides them most to sow division and possibly influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in its favour. China has also increased its use of AI-generated content to further its goals around the world,” Microsoft said in its report.

Microsoft said, additionally, North Korea has increased its cryptocurrency heists and supply chain attacks to fund and further its military goals and intelligence collection.

In his warning, Microsoft said: “With major elections taking place around the world this year, particularly in India, South Korea and the United States, we assess that China will, at a minimum, create and amplify AI-generated content to benefit its interests.”

“Despite the chances of such content affecting election results remaining low, China’s increasing experimentation in augmenting memes, videos, and audio will likely continue – and may prove more effective down the line. We can expect to see North Korea continue to steal cryptocurrency to fund space, missile, and nuclear programs as well as launch supply-chain attacks on the defence sector,” the warning said.

Microsoft claimed that China attempted an AI-generated disinformation campaign during the Taiwan presidential polls this year.

“The Taiwanese presidential election in January 2024 saw a surge in the use of AI-generated content to augment IO operations by CCP-affiliated actors,” the warning said.

Microsoft said it was the first time it registered a nation-state actor entity using AI content in attempts to influence a foreign election.

“The group we call Storm-1376, also known as Spamouflage and Dragonbridge, was the most prolific. For example, on election day, it posted suspected AI-generated fake audio of Foxconn owner and election candidate Terry Gou (who had bowed out of the contest in November 2023) endorsing another candidate in the presidential race. Gou had made no such statement. YouTube quickly removed this content before it reached a wider audience,” the report said.

“Storm-1376 has promoted a series of AI-generated memes of Taiwan’s then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate William Lai, and other Taiwanese officials as well as Chinese dissidents around the world. These have included an increasing use of AI-generated TV news anchors that Storm-1376 has deployed since at least February 2023,” read the warning.