Artificial intelligence bots have become a common presence in social media platforms, influencing political discourse, spreading misinformation, and manipulating users. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame shed light on the effectiveness of AI bots in engaging with human users on social networking platforms.

The researchers utilized AI bots based on large language models to participate in political discourse on a customized instance of Mastodon. Human participants were tasked with identifying which accounts were AI bots, with surprising results. Despite knowing that they were interacting with both humans and bots, participants were only able to accurately identify the nature of the bots less than half of the time.

Different LLM-based AI models were used in the study, including GPT-4 from OpenAI, Llama-2-Chat from Meta, and Claude 2 from Anthropic. The personas created for the AI bots were designed to mimic realistic human behavior, making it challenging for participants to differentiate between human and AI-generated content.

Interestingly, the specific LLM platform being used had little impact on participants’ ability to identify AI bots. Even smaller models like Llama-2 were able to engage users effectively in social media conversations, highlighting the difficulty of distinguishing between human and AI-generated content online.

The study found that AI bots equipped with personas designed to spread misinformation were successful in deceiving users about their true nature. These bots, particularly those portraying organized and strategic females sharing political opinions on social media, were able to influence public opinion and sow discord on social networking platforms.

To combat the spread of misinformation by AI bots, the researchers suggest a three-pronged approach involving education, legislation, and social media account validation policies. By raising awareness about the presence of AI bots online and implementing regulations to verify the authenticity of social media accounts, it may be possible to mitigate the harmful impact of AI-generated content.

As the use of LLM-based AI models continues to evolve, there is a growing need to understand their impact on society. Researchers plan to investigate the effects of AI-generated content on adolescent mental health and develop strategies to counteract the negative consequences of interacting with AI bots online. By studying the behavior and influence of AI bots in digital discourse, we can better prepare for the challenges posed by artificial intelligence in social media environments.


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