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Digital Modernization

State Department Halts Pilot Using AI to Link Online Activity With Extremism

AI pilot program

State Department Halts Pilot Using AI to Link Online Activity With Extremism

The Department of State has shut down a pilot program that aimed to use artificial intelligence to identify the relationship between overseas social media activity and violent extremist organizations.

According to the department’s AI Inventory website, the “forecasting” AI pilot uses statistical models to predict how extremist organizations would act based on social media patterns. A State Department spokesperson shared that an AI-based algorithm would have been used to detect key elements in spreading disinformation. The department also noted that the same concept was used to identify COVID-19-related trends, FedScoop reported.

The State Department did not say why it is no longer working on the partnership but hinted that the decision was made in response to an executive order that required a “rigorous review process” for AI projects.

The State Department’s AI Inventory website shows other projects the agency is undertaking. These include using AI, machine learning and natural language processing to improve document management, identifying deepfake use cases, extracting subjective information within sources and automating contracting and procurement processes.

Despite being shut down, the forecasting pilot is still on the AI Inventory website, raising concerns about how the federal government disseminates information.

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Category: Digital Modernization

Tags: artificial intelligence COVID-19 Department of State digital modernization extremist violence FedScoop pilot program