OUR PICKSHow Spies Should Use Technology | Disinformation from a Russian Ended up on Top of Google Search Results | America Finally Has an Answer to the Biggest Problem with EVs, and more

Published 9 July 2024

·  How Disinformation from a Russian AI Spam Farm Ended up on Top of Google Search Results
A fake article about Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife buying a $4.8 million Bugatti with US aid was promoted by bots, Russia state media, and pro-Trump influencers on X. It’s part of a network of websites supercharged by AI

·  Inside the University of Chicago’s Controversial Solar Geoengineering Initiative
The university is attempting to position itself as the place for serious scientific consideration of Earth system interventions aimed at reversing or counteracting climate change

·  How Spies Should Use Technology
Digital tools are transforming spycraft, but won’t replace human agents

·  America Finally Has an Answer to the Biggest Problem with EVs
Used electric cars are not just cheap—they are cheaper than similar gas cars

·  Red Teaming Isn’t Enough
Researchers need far more information to understand AI’s true risks

·  How Influencers and Algorithms Are Creating Bespoke Realities for Everyone
Disinformation researcher Renée DiResta’s new book lays out how people’s realities are shaped not by facts and evidence, but by black boxes, niche celebrities, and online communities

How Disinformation from a Russian AI Spam Farm Ended up on Top of Google Search Results  (David Gilbert, Wired)
In the space of 24 hours, a piece of Russian disinformation about Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife buying a Bugatti car with American aid money traveled at warp speed across the internet. Though it originated from an unknown French website, it quickly became a trending topic on X and the top result on Google.
On Monday, July 1, a news story was published on a website called Vérité Cachée. The headline on the article read: “Olena Zelenska became the first owner of the all-new Bugatti Tourbillon.” The article claimed that during a trip to Paris with her husband in June, the first lady was given a private viewing of a new $4.8 million supercar from Bugatti and immediately placed an order. It also included a video of a man that claimed to work at the dealership.
But the video, like the website itself, was completely fake.
Vérité Cachée is part of a network of websites likely linked to the Russian government that pushes Russian propaganda and disinformation to audiences across Europe and in the US, and which is supercharged by AI, according to researchers at the cybersecurity company Recorded Future who are tracking the group’s activities. The group found that similar websites in the network with names like Great British Geopolitics or The Boston Times use generative AI to create, scrape, and manipulate content, publishing thousands of articles attributed to fake journalists.

Inside the University of Chicago’s Controversial Solar Geoengineering Initiative  (Jessica McKenzie, Climate Desk)
Solar geoengineering—also called solar radiation management or solar radiation modification—was then and is now a fraught subject. Many experts and nonexperts alike consider the idea of deliberately mucking about with Earth’s climate systems to counteract centuries of mostly accidental mucking about in Earth’s climate systems ethically dubious and potentially highly dangerous. (Cont.)