Social bots as a threat to democracy

In The Guardian, my Institute for the Future colleagues Marina Gorbis and Sam Woolley write about social bots as a threat to democracy:

Social media platforms may be able to track and report on political advertisements from foreign entities, but will they divulge information on pervasive and personalized advertising from their domestic political clients?

This is a pressing question, because social bots are likely to continue to grow in sophistication. At a recent roundtable on the Future of AI and Democracy, several technology experts forecast that bots will become even more persuasive, more emotional and more personalized.

They will be able to not just spread information, but to truly converse and persuade their human interlocutors in order to even more effectively push the latter’s emotional buttons.

Bring together advances in neuroscience, the ability to analyze massive amounts of behavioral data and the proliferation of sensors and connectivity and you have a powerful recipe for affecting society though computational means.

"Social media bots threaten democracy. But we are not helpless" (The Guardian)