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posted by janrinok on Saturday May 11, @03:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the What-do-we-do-with-it? dept.

[Editor's Comment: I am not sure of the credibility, neutrality or origin of the source material.]

https://www.informationliberation.com/?id=64444

Report: Major Media Outlets Partnered With AI Company Are Filling Google With AI-Generated Trash

[...] Major media outlets have reportedly partnered with an AI company called AdVon Commerce to publish tens of thousands of fake product reviews and fill up Google Search results with piles of AI-generated trash.

While sites like InformationLiberation are manually blacklisted by Google's "trusted flaggers" for telling the truth, major media outlets which are manually whitelisted by Google for pushing regime propaganda are given top results for any garbage they publish.

Regime media have been taking advantage of this setup for years with low-quality clickbait but now they're taking spamming/SEO manipulation to a whole new level with AI.

I've suspected for quite some time those diversional "news article" clickbait sites ( like "She thought it was a dog. When the vet saw it, he called the Police! " ) are written by AI, designed to make you fish through myriads of buttons to get the next snippet of story.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Saturday May 11, @03:41PM (4 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 11, @03:41PM (#1356547) Homepage Journal

    Those stories, so far, have enough cohesion, and general implicit emotional knowledge, that I suspect they have been written by humans.
    I have no doubt there are real people with the ability and amorality to write such things.
    It's not the kind of stuff I'm interested in writing.
    But they're quite readable, unlike a lot of stuff that was appearing on, say, nanogenmo, a few years ago.
    In future, I don't know.
    I keep being reminded of the technicians that run the fiction-writing machines in Orwell's 1984.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @04:18PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @04:18PM (#1356554)

      Those stories, so far, have enough cohesion, and general implicit emotional knowledge, that I suspect they have been written by humans.

      They were probably written by Anonymous Indians.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Dr Spin on Saturday May 11, @06:07PM

        by Dr Spin (5239) on Saturday May 11, @06:07PM (#1356564)

        After extensive research (and a considerable quantity of Famous Grouse) - the evidence suggests the acronym means "Actual Idiocy".

        --
        Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Unixnut on Sunday May 12, @11:59AM (1 child)

      by Unixnut (5779) on Sunday May 12, @11:59AM (#1356644)

      Those stories, so far, have enough cohesion, and general implicit emotional knowledge, that I suspect they have been written by humans.

      Of course there are as this has been an issue before "AI" even existed. Originally it was website owners ripping off the content from other websites and posting it as their own. Even now someone can make a blog about a topic, scrape a bunch of other websites/blogs for content, re-post as their own and use "SEO" to end up the highest link, thereby profiting from the work of others. You can see this in action if you do a search about a news item (e.g. relating to some celebrity scandal) and the first $x websites will be the exact same content copy/pasted. In the end you don't even know who ripped off from whom.

      Then you have loads of people paid to write nonsense articles, or even give fake reviews. If you ever wondered what those "Earn $$$ while working from home, flexible hours" spam adverts were about, it was this.

      Once I was contacted on whatsapp by such a company, but rather than ignore/block them I went down the rabbit hole to see what I can find. Long story short, if your English is passable you can get a job giving fake 5-star reviews for products, apps and places online (e.g. think Amazon Reviews, Google Play store and Tripadvisor), as well as writing crap filler articles for about $7 an hour. If your English isn't passable they pay you less to sit there and solve captchas all day (and probably do other non-writing tasks like copy/paste articles others wrote into posts).

      This was no small company, they had thousands of workers churning this crap out all day long. Thing is, $7 an hour is ~$1213 a month (assuming 8 hour workday, 5 days a week), with flexible work from anywhere in the world. That is a good salary in parts of Eastern Europe, let alone in other poorer parts of the world.

      There is no shortage of people who are happy to do this kind of job for that money, hence AI is not even needed. Although I do suspect that AI, rather than replace these cheap workers, will be used to magnify their output to decrease the Signal to Noise ratio even more than it currently is.

      It also put into perspective how little use online reviews for anything are anymore. When this is this scale of industrial creation of fake content, pretty much any review you read online can not be trusted. Since I discovered this I no longer pay any attention to reviews of anything.

      As such I do my own research as much as possible although quite frankly, I am finding that "the web" is becoming increasingly useless for getting good information about anything.

      • (Score: 2, Redundant) by drussell on Sunday May 12, @06:34PM

        by drussell (2678) on Sunday May 12, @06:34PM (#1356681) Journal

        ... I am finding that "the web" is becoming increasingly useless for getting good information about anything.

        This. 1000x this!!

        +1 Touche

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Saturday May 11, @04:32PM (3 children)

    by VLM (445) on Saturday May 11, @04:32PM (#1356556)

    We've all seen it, in general, but I'm surprised they included no links.

    They mentioned the Miami Herald. I checked that out and it's entirely filler, sure, but not as bad as I've seen. Filler material like this article:

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article288459253.html [miamiherald.com]

    It may or may not be AI generated, but it could be replaced by AI-spam and wouldn't be any worse.

    If you search for "best yoga mat" as highlighted in the article, that is a weird mix of semi-real filler on real websites and absolute AI blogspam on no-name blogs.

    If you go to Amazon or Harbor Freight you can see classic American Tool brand names that used to mean something but were purchased and used to sell Chinese junk products. Its a stereotype of the 2020s that any tool brand name including a USA place name in its trademark or that was known as a quality mfgr in the 1950s is in the 2020s always bottom quality trash made in China and sold for 90% of the price of a real product despite being only 10% of the quality of a real product. My point in bringing this up is I expect to see this in media content farms ad the media self-destructs itself for political reasons. So at some point in the near future I expect you'll be able to buy the trademarked name "Miami Herald" for maybe $5 and then flood it with AI-spam for advertising purposes until people learn to avoid it. This would seem to be the endgame for all failing companies.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday May 11, @07:53PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday May 11, @07:53PM (#1356575)

      Yes, AI produces low quality garbage filling the search engines, but...

      With over 5 billion humans with internet access, over 4 billion of them with sufficient education to "write for a living..." is it any different than junk catalogs in your snail box? Sure, the price for low quality copy just fell from $0.001 per word to $0.00001 per word, and $0.10 per photo to $0.0001 per "photo", layout from $0.10 per page to $0.0001 per page... so we're getting a lot more pages of crap, but will it be accomplishing anything more than the free firestarter that comes delivered every day?

      Any search engine with a hope of relevancy in the coming decade will be developing a quality filter which, hopefully, will get rid of the human garbage output along with the AI worthless junk.

      Also, I do hold out hope that properly developed and run AI will occasionally produce something of value as well... even if it's just a good summary of a search query. Maybe someday.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @10:02AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @10:02AM (#1356639)

        Yes, it's different. It's junk catalogs that look exactly like a handwritten letter from your dad, including details from last week's lunch.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday May 12, @04:31PM

          by VLM (445) on Sunday May 12, @04:31PM (#1356670)

          Interesting perspective but I thought about it and look at spam; hasn't "evolved" in at least a quarter century. Possible that webspam will not evolve to that level either.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Snospar on Saturday May 11, @04:33PM (3 children)

    by Snospar (5366) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 11, @04:33PM (#1356557)

    If it wasn't a dog, what was it?!?! I've got to know

    --
    Huge thanks to all the Soylent volunteers without whom this community (and this post) would not be possible.
    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @09:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @09:09PM (#1356580)

      It will cost you several hours to find out.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday May 12, @02:08PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 12, @02:08PM (#1356660) Journal

      If it wasn't a dog, what was it?!?! I've got to know

      No, you gotn't. The police handled the case, you can focus now on something more productive :grin:

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 2) by cereal_burpist on Tuesday May 14, @01:51AM

      by cereal_burpist (35552) on Tuesday May 14, @01:51AM (#1356873)

      It was a 4-legged robot with a rifle! ;-)
      https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=24/05/10/1751211 [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by gznork26 on Saturday May 11, @04:59PM

    by gznork26 (1159) on Saturday May 11, @04:59PM (#1356559) Homepage Journal

    Cory Doctorow has also written a piece that touches on AdVon; it's called 'AI is a WMD': https://pluralistic.net/2024/05/09/shitting-in-the-well/ [pluralistic.net]

    Excerpt...

    Advon uses AI to produce its nonsense, at scale. In an excellent, deeply reported piece for Futurism, Maggie Harrison Dupré brings proof that Advon replaced its miserable human nonsense-writers with tireless chatbots:

    https://futurism.com/advon-ai-content [futurism.com]

    --
    Khipu were Turing complete.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by captain normal on Saturday May 11, @05:38PM (5 children)

    by captain normal (2205) on Saturday May 11, @05:38PM (#1356562)

    "In general, Information Liberation is a right-wing disinformation propaganda site."
    "Overall, we rate Information Liberation Questionable based on extreme right-wing bias, promoting propaganda/conspiracies, a lack of transparency, poor sourcing and false claims."
    https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/information-liberation/ [mediabiasfactcheck.com]

    --
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Saturday May 11, @08:18PM (2 children)

      by anubi (2828) on Saturday May 11, @08:18PM (#1356576) Journal

      I have no doubt of that. This story was linked to me by an extreme right-wing site which will host literally anything someone wants to put up.

      Their specialty is anything others will censor.

      My interest is "what's so damn secret"?

      There is often whistleblowing there from people who are being silenced...such as doctors commenting on their experiences with COVID.

      It's like trying to fix an old TV. If you don't know what you are doing, you are likely to get hurt.

      There is a lot of scaremongering going on. Gold and lots of really overpriced "survival" kits. At my level, I fear buying from them lest I be placed on a list of people who show an interest in such things. If I do anything for survival, it's learning skills to make myself useful to the other survivors. I can't stand the thought of being an old "egg-suckin' dog" that dispenses gold, when it would be far easier to just take it from me.

      I also know there are very powerful economic forces in play who are counting on the ignorance of the masses for maintaining control. This information does influence my long term plans. Just as the stuff I learn here does.

      I want the skills to build and fix things more than accumulating stores of goods that anyone with more guns will just take. I want to make myself useful, not some burden that needs to be gotten rid of.

      So take anything you read with a grain of salt. A lot of it is worded to influence you to do something they will profit from. AI is going to optimize the wording for maximal influence.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @09:09PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 11, @09:09PM (#1356579)

        > such as doctors commenting on their experiences with COVID.

        How do you know that they are actual doctors? A quick Google turns up a frightening number of reports about fake MDs.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, @01:48AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, @01:48AM (#1356744)

          I don't! I discover some even have a doctorate, but in another discipline. Follow the money.

          Why would someone destroy their career just to rain on someone else's parade? Or is it the same thing that makes a soldier take a grenade to shield others? Jump into a freezing cold river to rescue a stranger? Risk incarceration for life for whistleblowing? If I knew who had plans to take out a plane of innocent civilians, would I say anything? I am talking what a selfless compassionate human will do.

          We have all experienced "marketing", "salesmanship", and P.T. Barnum type tomfoolery against ignorant people. There is a sizeable number of us who believe this whole COVID affair is a hoax, cooked up in a lab, released to the public, for three reasons:

          1) Get funding to treat it. The broken window and glazier thing.

          2) Test how much the people will comply with Government orders without defiance.

          3) Get rid of the dumb ones that didn't figure this one out. Screw up reproduction with buggy DNA.

          Anyone who has watched a petri dish knows the inevitable outcome. Things work fine until resource depletion. So maybe throwing a monkey wrench into the baby maker machinery isn't all that bad. Keep moms busy with special needs babies. Also make employment for others to care for screwy babies.

          Dr. Paul Ehrlich warned of this. The Population Bomb. Zero Population Growth. Club of Rome. We have finite resources. They aren't making any more land. We are either going to live within our means, or fight like hell over whatever remains.

    • (Score: 5, Touché) by Captival on Saturday May 11, @09:10PM

      by Captival (6866) on Saturday May 11, @09:10PM (#1356581)

      Oh! Somebody somewhere called the website a name, so we must all believe that giant corrupt corporations, who already are doing every evil shady business tactic under the sun, would not flood the internet with spam content. Thanks helpful giant corporations!

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by driverless on Monday May 13, @11:50AM

      by driverless (4770) on Monday May 13, @11:50AM (#1356801)

      I immediately noticed that too, anything that uses phrases like "manually whitelisted by Google for pushing regime propaganda" isn't an even remotely reliable news source. Anyone want to provide a counter-article from the Daily Worker to balance it out?

  • (Score: 2) by Mojibake Tengu on Saturday May 11, @09:19PM (4 children)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Saturday May 11, @09:19PM (#1356582) Journal

    Excessive abuse of AI-generated trash will destroy the advertising industry completely.

    That's inevitable. Malice, every time it makes an epochal full circle trampling through society fabric, inevitably destroys itself.

    I am more concerned about of what comes in after current AI zest gone.

    --
    Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RedGreen on Sunday May 12, @01:32AM

      by RedGreen (888) on Sunday May 12, @01:32AM (#1356609)

      "I am more concerned about of what comes in after current AI zest gone."

      Something even worse if the past trend holds as it usually does. Then the next hype/pump and dump cycle will begin only to repeated as always happens once they have squeezed those new morons who bought in dry. I have seen way to many of them in my lifetime to think anything else...

      --
      "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday May 12, @02:13PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 12, @02:13PM (#1356661) Journal

      Excessive abuse of AI-generated trash will destroy the advertising industry completely.

      God speed! Bated breath to see what idiocy pops up after.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Monday May 13, @08:05AM (1 child)

      by anubi (2828) on Monday May 13, @08:05AM (#1356782) Journal

      AI make advertising worse?

      I swear American advertising generally has got to be the most inane, boring, unimaginative thing out there. There are very few exceptions...like the Doritos ads...I love this one about an ignored dog competing with a TV for his owner's attention.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce-K8_ltGVY [youtube.com]

      But mostly, the Europeans have a lot better ads than we get. No wonder Americans disdain them so.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Mojibake Tengu on Monday May 13, @06:01PM

        by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Monday May 13, @06:01PM (#1356826) Journal

        In American reality, usually it is not dog but child.

        I do not own TV since 1995. Though I purchased many luxurious TVs as gifts for annoying family members ever since.

        --
        Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by melyan on Sunday May 12, @12:58AM

    by melyan (14385) on Sunday May 12, @12:58AM (#1356598) Journal

    Humans are AI programmed by ego.

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