How Large Knowledge, AI and Social Media are Used to Hack Democracy?

Can democracy be hacked? That’s, can we expect with out realizing how and what we expect, how can it’s affected?

It is a query that is been on the thoughts of Gaia Rubera, head of the advertising division at Bocconi College and the Amplifon Chair in Buyer Science, for a while, and has develop into more and more essential in recent times.

For Gaia, the usage of Large Knowledge, Synthetic Intelligence (AI), and social media to intervene in elections and promote the unfold of misinformation has worsened through the years and poses a severe menace to society. Is.

How huge knowledge, AI and social media are used to hack democracy

There are three important use circumstances for Large Knowledge, AI and Social Media in terms of influencing democracy.

The primary is within the mould of Cambridge Analytica, the consulting agency that within the 2010s used private knowledge from 87 million Fb profiles primarily for political promoting with out customers’ consent.

“Somebody collects knowledge, and these knowledge are used to feed machine studying algorithms which can be used to profile individuals,” explains Gaia. “When you determine these individuals, you’ll be able to goal them subtly.”

Gaia is ready to debate the Cambridge Analytica case throughout a free on-line host on March 30. She can even focus on the usage of social bots in infodemics, and why detecting them is difficult for present machine studying fashions.


The usage of bots is a second use case and includes the deliberate, large-scale dissemination of misinformation, or disinformation, on platforms equivalent to Twitter. Bots are pc packages that act as brokers for customers and simulate human exercise; They’re generally used to unfold propaganda from faux social media accounts.

Gaia factors out that this was the case through the 2017 French presidential election, when ‘MacronLeaks’ focused presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. The paperwork have been obtained after the non-public and enterprise mailboxes of a number of leaders of his motion have been hacked, and bots have been used to disseminate that data extensively on-line with faux paperwork.

The third use case, says Gaia, is by residents themselves spreading misinformation, which destroys individuals’s belief in something. “Proper now, most individuals do not know what’s true and what’s not.

“It is virtually inconceivable to resolve as a result of you do not know who’s proper or who’s flawed.”


This was notably acute through the COVID pandemic, with the widespread dissemination of misinformation about vaccines, the severity of the illness, and even the existence of the virus, creating an atmosphere through which it was difficult to know What to consider

This is named an infodemic, which in line with the World Well being Group is loads of data, together with false or deceptive data, within the digital and bodily atmosphere throughout a illness outbreak. That is one thing that Gaia believes is getting worse.

“These misinformation campaigns have two targets,” she says. “There’s one objective: I wish to present that, I do not know, the virus would not exist, it was created – that is the precise objective.

“Then there is a long-term objective, which individuals say, ‘Okay, I do not belief official newspapers anymore as a result of they’re offering faux details about the virus, or I do not belief politicians anymore. ‘

“You twist the minds of some individuals and the subsequent time, when the subsequent disaster hits, you have got a bunch of people who find themselves already inclined to consider faux information. This can be a struggle for our minds and it has been happening for years.”

Tips on how to tackle the specter of huge knowledge, AI and social media to democracy

Gaia’s first answer is to teach itself about the usage of know-how, but additionally about how psychology works within the human mind. There are two psychological parts at play, she provides: the nudge idea and tribalism.

“They push you slowly in a single path and you do not even understand it, so it is best to begin to understand it,” she advises. The second factor they do is to divide the society into camps, to create and strengthen the ‘us vs them’ mentality.

Then we share data associated to our beliefs, with out totally realizing whether or not what we’re sharing is truth or fiction. Gaia recommends stopping sharing mechanically, and as an alternative eager about the place the knowledge got here from, whether or not it is a viable supply, and if it is a information or opinion piece.

One other answer he has heard of is the suspension of the social community every week earlier than the election, one thing he agrees to. It goals to forestall the unfold of misinformation and focused propaganda campaigns designed to tarnish the popularity of candidates and to swing votes in favor of a selected candidate.

As residents, we should pay attention to the hazards of misinformation and the function of Large Knowledge, AI and social media in spreading it. Gaia mentioned legislators additionally want an additional layer of motion. What legal guidelines could be handed to take care of the issue with out rising the extent of censorship?

As a researcher, she additionally believes that lecturers play a useful function by persevering with to analysis and examine social media firms and the mature atmosphere they create for the unfold of false data.

How Bocconi teaches its college students about huge knowledge, AI and social media

Though Gaia acknowledged that overcoming the challenges posed by huge knowledge, AI and social media requires widespread social change, Bocconi has been in a position to train college students concerning the penalties of things like propaganda campaigns and the general public spreading misinformation. helps.

Gaia’s educating consists of Digital Advertising and marketing, Large Knowledge and AI Advertising and marketing, Social Media Communications and Buyer-Centered Innovation.

At Bocconi, she teaches college students the way to seek for and mix knowledge from social networks, largely Twitter. She additionally teaches them how machine studying works, with reside use circumstances displaying how misinformation spreads in apply.

Bocconi additionally has a number of grasp’s packages that target managing know-how and safety dangers.

has an MSc in Cyber ​​Danger Technique and Governance; MSc in Knowledge Science and Enterprise Analytics; and MSc in Economics and Administration of Innovation and Expertise.

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