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AI Systems Could Manipulate Human Behaviors, New Study Finds

AI Systems Could Manipulate Human Behaviors, New Study Finds

Tuesday, 16 February, 2021 - 07:30
A computer scientist works in his home office in Dortmund, western Germany, Jan. 19, 2021. (AFP Photo)

A new study has shown that AI can learn to identify vulnerabilities in human habits and behaviors and use them to influence human decision-making.


A team of researchers at Australia's national science agency devised a systematic method of finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in the ways people make choices, using a kind of AI system called a recurrent neural network. To test their model they carried out an experiment in which human participants played games against a computer.


According to the TechXplore, during these games, the participants had to make some choices concerning colors and symbols to achieve certain scores. After monitoring the behaviors of the volunteers, the AI system managed to predict their choices and guided them toward others. The AI was successful about 70 percent of the time.


The research team said these findings are still quite abstract and involved limited and unrealistic situations. More research is needed to determine how this approach can be put into action and used to benefit society.


Researchers at Australia's national science agency said this system could have an enormous range of possible applications, from enhancing behavioral sciences and public policy to improve social welfare, to understanding and influencing how people adopt healthy eating habits or renewable energy. AI and machine learning could be used to recognize people's vulnerabilities in certain situations and help them to steer away from poor choices.


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