In a world where the pace of technological advancement feels dizzying, AI continues to shape the narrative of our times, and today’s headlines are a testament to that. From international espionage suspicions to groundbreaking collaborations, the expansive influence of artificial intelligence is touching every corner of the globe and every industry. Let’s break down the top stories:
1. China Suspected of AI-Driven US Voter Influence
China is using AI-generated images to influence U.S. voters, warns Microsoft in their recent report. Chinese state-affiliated hacking groups are behind this operation, creating fake images to fuel controversy and division across political, racial, economic, and ideological lines. Although the image quality is low, Clint Watts, Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center’s general manager, noted that this technology produces more convincing content than past campaigns.
China’s focus extends beyond the U.S., primarily targeting countries in the South China Sea region. The leading group involved is the Raspberry Typhoon, which goes after government ministries, military entities, and critical infrastructure firms, especially telecoms. China also uses “multilingual internet celebrity studios,” where over 230 state media personnel pose as independent social media influencers on Western platforms, amassing a combined following of at least 103 million across various languages.
This isn’t the first time China has engaged in misinformation campaigns. In the past, they targeted Asian Americans and mobilized against anti-government activist Guo Wengui. Recently, Meta warned of a misinformation campaign involving 7,700 Facebook accounts and 50 apps.
The report also addresses North Korea’s ongoing cyber threat, gathering intelligence about South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, and obtaining cryptocurrency funds for the state. North Korean threat actors have targeted maritime and shipbuilding sectors and even the Russian government and defense industry for intelligence collection while supporting Russia in its conflict with Ukraine.
Microsoft anticipates continued misinformation efforts and cyber espionage worldwide, mainly targeting Taiwan and the United States in the run-up to the 2024 elections, aligning with China’s geopolitical goals.
2. Microsoft Uncovers China’s AI-Powered Fake Social Media Campaign
Microsoft researchers have identified a suspected Chinese information operation that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to produce fake social media posts to influence U.S. voters.
A representative from the Chinese embassy refuted these allegations, labeling them as “malicious speculation” and emphasizing China’s stance on the responsible use of AI.
Although the social media platforms weren’t revealed, the Microsoft report presented evidence from what looked like Facebook and the newly named Twitter “X.”
This discovery adds to the mounting concerns of digital misinformation, especially as the U.S. gears up for the 2024 presidential elections.
Previously, Russia was accused by the U.S. government of manipulating the 2016 elections via covert social media campaigns. There are rising fears about attempts by countries like China, Russia, and Iran to sway voters.
Microsoft’s attribution of these posts to China was based on “technical, behavioral, and contextual evidence.”
As per the tech giant, from March 2023, the deceptive campaign started leveraging generative AI, which can create media, including text and images, from scratch.
This results in more authentic content than earlier attempts by alleged Chinese operatives, which seemed to rely more on crude visual methods.
One striking example from Microsoft’s report is an AI-generated image portraying the Statue of Liberty wielding an assault rifle and a provocative caption about violence.
These fake accounts tried to blend in as Americans by displaying U.S. locations, using local political slogans, and incorporating hashtags tied to domestic issues.
3. NVIDIA and Reliance Industries Team Up to Build AI Supercomputers in India
NVIDIA, the U.S. tech titan, has joined forces with India’s Reliance Industries, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, to establish cutting-edge AI supercomputers in India.
The duo plans to produce an AI infrastructure surpassing the power of India’s current fastest supercomputer.
This announcement follows a recent meeting between NVIDIA’s CEO, Jensen Huang, and India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Since commencing its Indian operations in 2004, NVIDIA has founded four engineering development hubs situated in Gurugram, Hyderabad, Pune, and Bengaluru, employing over 3,800 personnel.
The cornerstone of this collaboration is creating India’s unique foundation large language model.
This will focus on India’s multilingual diversity, aiming to offer generative AI applications tailored for the world’s second-most populous country.
NVIDIA will grant access to its advanced GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip and the DGX Cloud, a leading AI supercomputing cloud service, to facilitate this.
The GH200 represents a revolutionary leap in computing architecture, renowned for its exceptional performance and vast memory bandwidth.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom subsidiary of Reliance Industries, will harness NVIDIA’s AI infrastructure, setting the stage for a new AI era. This partnership aspires to serve Reliance’s 450 million Jio clientele and offer green AI infrastructure solutions to India’s scientific, developer, and startup communities.
Among its envisioned applications are enabling farmers to receive localized weather and crop pricing updates via mobile and enhancing medical diagnostics in areas with scarce doctors.
Additionally, it could improve storm predictions, potentially saving lives.
Reliance Jio will be responsible for the execution and management of the AI infrastructure, capitalizing on its vast expertise in mobile telephony, 5G technology, and more. The AI systems will be stationed in AI-ready data centers, projected to expand to a capacity of 2,000 MW.
Jensen Huang expressed NVIDIA’s excitement to pioneer these AI advancements in India with Reliance. He emphasized India’s potential with its scale, data, and talent pool.
Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Chairman, echoed this sentiment, likening this venture’s anticipated impact to Jio’s transformative influence on India’s digital trajectory.
Akash Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, underscored Jio’s dedication to democratizing tech access, viewing the NVIDIA collaboration as a leap towards making India an AI stronghold.
4. Imbue AI Lab Secures $200 Million at $1 Billion Valuation
Imbue, an AI research laboratory, has successfully garnered $200 million during its Series B fundraising round. Notable investors participating in this round include Astera Institute and tech giant Nvidia.
Imbue’s valuation has soared past $1 billion following this funding injection.
This influx of investment comes in the wake of a global surge in AI interest and backing. Major corporations from diverse sectors, from banking to technology giants, have intensified their AI investments.
The momentum was significantly bolstered by ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art generative AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, backed by Microsoft. Launched in late 2022, ChatGPT rapidly gained global acclaim.
Imbue highlighted that this fresh capital would fast-track their endeavors to develop sophisticated AI systems, especially those capable of autonomously reasoning and coding.
5. Emerging Tech Firms Challenge Defense Industry’s Traditional Hegemony
Innovative commercial software developers venturing into the arms market are reportedly challenging the longstanding supremacy of the traditional defense sector, renowned for its large-scale weapon manufacturing, occasionally at a slow pace.
While it’s premature to predict whether substantial human-manned weaponry, such as submarines or reconnaissance helicopters, will become obsolete in the manner of battleships after the rise of aerial dominance, there’s an apparent inclination towards a significant role for robots – aerial, terrestrial, and underwater – in conjunction with humans in future combat scenarios.
Recent developments from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine serve as a testament to this shift.
Even basic combinations of human-operated machinery, devoid of advanced AI autonomy, alter warfare dynamics.
Military analysts observing the conflict highlight that even elementary remote-controlled drones have amplified the potency of the region’s artillery, rockets, and missiles.
Kathleen Hicks, the U.S. deputy secretary of defense, acknowledged the continuing relevance of traditional military assets.
However, she emphasized that the Ukraine situation demonstrates the potential of emerging technologies, especially those emerging from non-traditional commercial sectors, in counteracting modern military threats.
Today, Reuters released a special report elaborating on how AI-driven automation is set to redefine weaponry, warfare techniques, and global military power dynamics.
Russian and Ukrainian troops are amalgamating conventional armaments with technologies such as AI, satellite imagery, smart munitions, and advanced communication tools, as indicated by a recent report from the Special Competitive Studies Project, an unbiased U.S. expert panel.
The prevailing warfare landscape comprises deep trenches and bunkers, compelling soldiers to seek refuge underground or in protective shelters.
The ongoing conflict has led some military experts to observe that conventional attack and transportation helicopters are increasingly susceptible, almost being eclipsed by drones.
Mick Ryan, a former major general in the Australian army and a regular commentator, remarked, “We’ve already begun witnessing drones supersede tasks originally designated to crewed reconnaissance helicopters and ground artillery observers.”