Keeping The Indian Democracy Real

Keeping The Indian Democracy Real

When the world's largest democracy goes to elections, well well well, we have a festival like no other. 2 billion people deciding who will decide for them for the next 5 years. Is India the most important country ! Well my answer will be bias, but let's talk about what I know, that’s from what's happening on the ground, specially in the scenario of #FakeNews affecting us all.

It's not me, as per the world economic forum, #MisInformation is the greatest threat to Indian democracy! But we are taking a stand against it, so this is what's happening across the globe.

At the Munich Security Conference on February 16, 2024, 20 leading technology companies, including Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, Open AI, TikTok, and X, pledged to work together to detect and counter harmful AI content. This initiative, known as the “Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections”, aims to prevent deceptive AI content from interfering with global elections involving over four billion voters in more than 40 countries.

The accord includes commitments to develop and implement technology to mitigate risks related to deceptive AI election content, assess models to understand the risks they may present, detect and address this content on their platforms, foster cross-industry resilience, provide transparency to the public, engage with a diverse set of global civil society organizations and academics, and support efforts to foster public awareness, media literacy, and societal resilience.

The deceptive AI content addressed by the accord includes AI-generated audio, video, and images that deceptively fake or alter the appearance, voice, or actions of political candidates, election officials, and other key stakeholders in a democratic election, or that provide false information to voters about when, where, and how they can vote.

This initiative is seen as a crucial step in advancing election integrity, increasing societal resilience, and creating trustworthy tech practices. The participating companies are committed to building the infrastructure needed to provide context for the content consumers are seeing online and investing in media literacy campaigns.

In India specifically, of course we have our amazing #KeepItReal Campaign, following our RAC framework, which is Research to understand the problem, Awareness to explain the problem & Capacity building to fight the problem.

Some great news is also coming from our friends at Meta! They announced they have created a Misinformation combat alliance, focusing on Indian elections, with a WhatsApp helpline, and a Deep Fake detection Unit. Good to see them take action, as 80% of the misinformation received by 1st time voters is through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

There is also the #prebunking initiative by google, currently active in the EU but I hope it makes its way to the Indian shores.

It's the need of the hour, though we might just be doing too little too late! While everyone loves fact checking, it's more of a repair post damage approach, which has its value, though not in elections. As the emotional bias does not really promote rational thinking, hence media literacy is my preferred route, you know prevention is better than the cure.

I am working on a detailed solution, let's see if the election commission is up for it :)
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