Interview with Felix M. Simon, researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, on AI and disinformation

The final and third short interview about the impact of generative AI on the disinformation and verification sphere that I conducted at the International Journalism Festival 2023 in Perugia was with Felix M. Simon, researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), which is part of the University of Oxford, UK. 

In addition to his affiliations with the OII Felix also works as a research assistant at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and writes and comments frequently on technology, media, and politics for various outlets.

The focus of Felix' current research work, also part of his PhD,  is on the implications of AI in journalism and the news industry. More precisely, having embarked on this journey in 2019, Felix “seeks to understand the structural implications of artificial intelligence, including forms of generative AI such as ChatGPT and DALL:E, for news organisations’ gatekeeping processes — the production and distribution of news — and the public arena.” 

All this obviously makes Felix a very knowledgeable source on the topic and an ideal candidate to finish off my little interview series in Perugia.

Felix started off by saying that, obviously, and with the help of generative AI such as ChatGPT and DALL:E, it has become a lot easier to produce content that looks credible. However, Felix was also quick to point out that the big question for him, at the moment, is “if this will actually make a big difference to the mis- and disinformation landscape” as scientific proof isn't there yet whether it will become a huge problem. According to Felix, it is not only production that matters, but also the distribution of content, in other words getting disinformation out to masses of people. That is why he is “not so sure (yet) whether this will be a big game changer.”

View the video below in full if you want to find out everything Felix had to say on the topic - then you will also know what Felix' biggest wish is as a researcher working in the disinformation space.   

Author and interviewer: Jochen Spangenberg

Date of interview / recording: 22 April 2023 is co-funded by the European Commission under grant agreement ID 101070093, and the UK and Swiss authorities. This website reflects the views of the consortium and respective contributors. The EU cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.