The Pentagon have deployed hundreds of soldiers to work within the US Army’s new ‘troll division’ – a unit tasked with spreading pro-American propaganda online.
According to white papers published on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Wednesday, the US Military wants a new intelligence tool so that soldiers working within the troll division can better understand social media posts in languages such as Russian, French and Arabic.
Rt.com reports: The self-improving AI tool is meant to work with text, voice, images and other content on social media in Arabic, French, Pashtu, Farsi, Urdu, Russian and Korean. It should understand colloquial phrasing, spelling variations, social media brevity codes and emojis, and also recognize various dialects.
The content will be automatically analyzed for sentiment – at minimum distinguish positive, neutral and negative emotions and preferably tell anger, pleasure, sadness and excitement. It should also have the “capability to suggest whether specific audiences could be influenced based on derived sentiment.”
Additionally, the tool must be able to serve as a translator to English and back into the original language, and automatically generate “at least three, and up to 10, unique statements derived from one original social media statement, while retaining the meaning and tone of the original.”
The responses should be customized according to whatever slang and emojis the original contained. The software is also required to monitor and analyze the impact of the message on the target audience.
The US military’s involvement in social media communication in other nations is hardly surprising. The Pentagon was among the pioneers of state ‘astroturfing’ campaigns – online propaganda and social media manipulation through ‘sockpuppets’, which are fake online personas purporting to be real people advocating whatever views the US military wants them to.
This request came from the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), which is primarily tasked with collecting intelligence.
The bot-like tool described seems more along the lines of psychological warfare, the domain of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).
It is possible, however, that the spooks need to convince their sources to cooperate with a little help from AI-generated messages.