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Putin’s hope that AI could improve information control and end dependence on Western technology is largely ‘desirable’

Russia has focused its efforts on establishing itself as a leader in the research, development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with hopes of freeing Russia from dependence on the West – hopes that, given current capabilities, are still in farther away.

“Intelligence analysis suggests that the Russian military has so far been unable to implement the concept of AI-enhanced combat capabilities, shortening the kill chain and more effective target acquisition,” said Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former defense intelligence agency official said Fox News Digital.

“Their efforts remain ambitious for the most part,” she added. “They have big ideas, which are expressed in military magazines, but when it comes to practice, the Russians fall short of their goals.”

Russia focused on AI development for years before hitting the mainstream tipping point – much like other major nations like the US and China – and is working to develop AI technology and capabilities with broader applications than this, for example is possible with the generative platform ChatGPT.

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The Center for European Policy Analysis wrote about Russia’s keen interest in presenting the image of a nation at the forefront of AI advances: At an annual economic forum in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin “gushed” about Russia’s advances and debated driving over automated trucks and autonomous driving taxis.

However, his biggest concern was the possible Western dominance in AI development. The now famous ChatGPT has mostly focused on English language media, which means its answers contain bias from English language sources.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin meets with the president of Rostelecom, Russia’s largest telecommunications operator, at the Kremlin in Moscow June 7, 2023. (Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

For example, when a Russian-language prompt sought an explanation of color revolutions — the term used to describe protests in post-Soviet states like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan — the model responded with discussions of democratic movements. In Russia, on the other hand, these movements are considered coups.

Control over information remains critical to Putin’s interests: he expended significant resources during the invasion of Ukraine trying to control the narrative in his homeland, first labeling the invasion a “special operation” and then attempting to making it look like the invasion took place in Ukraine The invasion has a noble purpose – to “denazify” a nation led by descendants of Holocaust survivors – and then to curb any resistance to its goals.

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Experts have previously raised concerns about AI’s potential to amplify and further propagate disinformation – partly due to the persistence of “hallucinations” or outright fabrications generated by the AI ​​models, but also due to generative imagery such as deepfakes that are persuasive can generate fake images.

In Turkey’s presidential elections earlier this year, a candidate was eliminated after claiming online that he had been the victim of a fake “character assassination”: Muharrem Ince claimed that a sex tape allegedly posted online using deepfake technology and footage ” was created by a…”Israeli porn site.”

Putin's AI development

Employees in the control room of Sberbank PJSC’s data processing center at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, Russia, Monday, December 16, 2019. As Sberbank expands its technology offering, the Kremlin supports legislation aimed at keeping the country’s largest internet company under local Control by Limiting Foreign Ownership. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

AI-generated political disinformation has already gone viral across the internet in the run-up to the 2024 election, from a manipulated video of what appears to be Biden delivering a speech attacking transgender people to AI-generated images of children who Supposedly learning satanism in libraries.

Russia’s tough laws against disinformation could lead many AI model developers to avoid sensitive topics to protect themselves, leading to self-censorship that could limit the model’s growth.

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The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) stressed that Putin sees AI as “crucial” to Russia’s future, arguing that “Russia’s place in the world, as well as the country’s sovereignty and security, depends on the results of AI research and development.” depend”.

“In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, the definition of national sovereignty has evolved into an argument for Russia’s ‘technological sovereignty’,” aimed at breaking Russia’s dependence on Western technology, wrote Samuel Bendett, associate senior fellow in the field of technology and national security of the CNAS program.

Russia's technical development

Payment gates with facial recognition at a subway station in Moscow on Friday, August 27, 2021. The Moscow subway system, which carries more people annually than the New York subway, is testing facial recognition technology to help passengers pay their fares to allow. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

According to the CEPA report, “Putin must choose between the potential of AI and his valued ‘information security’.” He is likely to favor information control.

Because of this, Russia has instead focused on military applications for AI, Koffler told Fox News Digital, but even those efforts have fallen short of its ambitions.

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“The area that Russians have traditionally prioritized and aspired to the use of AI is wartime and defense-time decision-making,” she said. “It’s algorithm-based and relies on risk assessment, much like the US auto and life insurance business.”

“What is your risk of being in a car accident? It’s different for a young man driving a red Mustang than for an old granny driving a Buick,” she explained. “What is the risk of a heart attack? It’s different for a 60-year-old overweight man than for a 20-year-old ballerina. AI can optimize these inputs to the algorithm.”

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