AI Text Generator Backed By Elon Musk Can Write Seriously Believable Fake News

An artificial intelligence research group, backed by Elon Musk, has created an algorithm that can generate a convincing news story using just a handful of starting words.

The algorithm was originally designed to answer questions, summarise stories and translate text, but researchers have now found it can also be used to send out fake news to the masses.

It can produce scarily coherent, sophisticated text that looks legitimate, but that is not accurate.

So basically, if you feed it a fake headline, it will spit out a complete article, fake quotations, statistics and all.

Disassembling a computer. Image: Andrey Bukrev/Getty.

OpenAI has published an example, the first two lines are written by a human:

"A train carriage containing controlled nuclear materials was stolen in Cincinnati today. Its whereabouts are unknown."

The rest of the story is completely made up, without any human guidance. Here's a couple of lines:

"The incident occurred on the downtown train line, which runs from Covington and Ashland stations. In an email to Ohio news outlets, the U.S. Department of Energy said it is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to find the thief."

The complete version includes quotes and information that simply isn't true.

Image: Getty.

Because the content looks and feels so real that the not-for-profit has taken the unusual step of not releasing their research publicly, for fear of potential misuse.

"The texts that they are able to generate from prompts are fairly stunning," Sam Bowman, a computer scientist at New York University, told Bloomberg.

"It’s able to do things that are qualitatively much more sophisticated than anything we’ve seen before," he said.

This all comes as governments and company's work to stop the spread of fake news.

READ MORE: WhatsApp Is Making Changes To Fight Fake News

READ MORE: People Believe Fake News If It Comes With A Photo

But we're being assured the systems abilities aren't consistent enough to pose an immediate threat.

Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2016 but stepped down from the board last year.