Targeting Deep Fakes, Misinformation: US Military Testing AI-Powered Tool

Foreign Affairs

Washington: In a move to tackle fake information, the US military is testing an artificial intelligence tool that can trawl social media and other open-source information and spot misleading content, such as bots or deep fakes, to better inform commanders of the region they are operating in.

The program, dubbed Data Robot, was part of the Cyber Quest trials held throughout July at Fort Gordon in Georgia. It was previously put through its paces during the Pacific Sentry exercise in Hawaii, officials said.

“We want to give the commanders the right information at the right time so we can impact the enemy. That’s the goal,” Army Col. Brett Riddle, director of the Cyber Battle Lab, told reporters at a Cyber Quest briefing July 28. “And I think Data Robot did show us that we can start to progress forward with that.”

Quickly discerning fact from fiction is critical for forces in the field. And the task is increasingly complex as misinformation floods the likes of Twitter and Facebook and world powers wage online influence campaigns, some more overt than others. A manipulated video surfaced last year in which a poorly edited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on his soldiers to lay down their arms and surrender to Russia, for example. It was quickly debunked.

The US is now beefing up its information warfare capabilities, a persuasive combination of data awareness and deception aimed at gaining an advantage before, during and after battles. Cyber Quest is organized each year to examine up-and-coming technologies and inform future investments.

“It’s our opportunity to take cutting-edge, newly delivered products from industry, put them into the hands of soldiers and determine if they’re going to work in the field, in the dirt, in the rain, in Georgia, in the hot, humid weather,” Army Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, the commander of the Army cyber centre of excellence, said. “We need opportunities like Cyber Quest to work directly alongside our industry and scientific partners so they can make the modifications to existing protocols so that they’ll meet our needs.”