Managing Reputation in an Age of AI and Misinformation

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum named misinformation and disinformation one of the most significant risks facing the global economy, due at least in large part to the snowballing effect of misleading political information created using AI.

A plethora of powerful text, audio, and video generators are now available to anyone with a smart phone. Misleading media and information is easier to make – and harder to spot.

As well as written material, deepfake technology can manipulate audio and video content, enabling the creation of convincing videos featuring individuals saying or doing things they never actually did (banks have been the latest to voice concerns over this).

With social media providing an arena for these falsehoods to spread rapidly, the impact of an AI-generated piece of false media could be massive, reducing public trust and impacting brand perception.

If an AI-fuelled crisis was to emerge, speed of response is key. Henry Ajder, expert on AI and deepfakes and advisor to Adobe, Meta and EY, recently said to the Financial Times that a lack of response around a false narrative leaves a dangerous vacuum “for bad faith actors and less scrupulous media — particularly biased media — to come in and fill that void with confirmation.”

Brand reputation is a critical value driver for businesses. With the threat of AI-derived mis/disinformation proliferating, risk, marketing and wider leadership teams will need to up the ante on monitoring for potential brand hijack, ‘artificial defamation’ and other reputation risks, and develop effective communications response strategies.

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