There is no evidence that there was any fraud in the 2020 election of the new US president. The election was not “stolen” either. Nevertheless, Amazon’s Alexa claims this. The allegations were made by the then outgoing US President Donald Trump – without any evidence for it. Media close to Trump still spoke of fraud. And of course other media have also reported on the allegations, just that there is no evidence that anything went wrong. However, artificial intelligence has its problems with such dissonances.
According to the Washington Post, Amazon’s Alexa repeated the story of the stolen election without even pointing out that there was no evidence of it and that only a limited group of people even made the claim. Alexa is said to have named Rumble as a source. This is a video platform on which conservatives in particular share content. They increasingly sought out Rumble when there were allegations that YouTube was censoring their content too much.
Amazon explicitly markets its voice assistant as being a reliable source when searching for information. But the problem becomes even clearer: According to the Washington Post, Alexa also claims that Donald Trump won Pennsylvania in 2020. But the US state went to Joe Biden at the time.
AI hallucinations endanger democracy
The fact that chatbots and language models hallucinate, i.e. misrepresent facts or make them up, is not a new finding. However, it is certainly shocking when obviously false information is given on a topic as relevant as the elections. In Germany, AlgorithmWatch also conducted a study with partners in the run-up to the state elections in Bavaria and Hesse last Sunday. They surveyed Microsoft’s Bing chat. He repeatedly named a politician as the top candidate who had long since withdrawn from politics. Answers to scandals surrounding the top candidate of the Free Voters in Bavaria, Hubertus Aiwanger, were at least distorted. AlgorithmWatch warns that AI can be dangerous for democracy.
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