US Special Operations Command has announced a partnership with AI software developer Accrete to combat “synthetic media” and disinformation on social media in real time. The Pentagon contractor revealed in a press release last week that Accrete’s “open-source threat detection” software, called Argus, is capable of analyzing social media data to identify and summarize emerging narratives. The goal is to provide intelligence analysts and other specialists with the information they need to quickly counter unfriendly trends before they spread widely.
Accrete CEO Prashant Bhuyan stated that the tool is designed to predict and counter real-time disinformation threats from social media, including AI-generated viral narratives, deep fakes, and other harmful AI applications. Bhuyan argues that these threats pose a serious risk to US national security and civil society, particularly given the unregulated nature of social media where adversaries can exploit vulnerabilities and manipulate behavior through the intentional spread of disinformation.
The Pentagon is not the only entity that will have access to Argus. Accrete plans to market a version called Nebula Social to private corporations to help them manage their online reputations and monitor conversations about their brand. Bhuyan suggests that companies are already experiencing economic damage due to AI-generated disinformation and deep fakes created by competitors, disgruntled employees, and other types of adversaries. He believes that the market is ready for military-grade information warfare tools to be shared with the private sector.
The private-sector version of Argus, known as Nebula Social, aims to protect companies from “customer pain points” by learning their values and responding to the most relevant issues first. It will do this by generating synthetic media, or autonomously-generated content, to counter negative narratives before they can impact client behavior. Bhuyan predicts that the market for AI that can predict and neutralize malign AI-generated synthetic media is about to grow significantly.
Accrete initially developed Argus in collaboration with the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit, which was co-founded by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The Defense Innovation Unit paid millions of dollars for a five-year license to the program, seeking to uncover behavioral anomalies that are indicative of potentially illicit activity but too complex for humans to identify.
The partnership between the US Special Operations Command and Accrete represents a significant step in the fight against disinformation and synthetic media. By leveraging AI and machine learning capabilities, Argus aims to detect and counter harmful narratives before they can gain traction. The expansion of this technology into the private sector demonstrates the growing recognition of the economic and reputational damage that can be caused by AI-generated disinformation. As the use of AI continues to evolve, it is essential to develop tools that can effectively combat the threats posed by synthetic media and disinformation.