AI’s ability to (usually) produce grammatically correct syntax sure is impressive, but there is no actual intelligence behind the text, meaning that the way you and I would suss out the validity of some statements, or come up with original thoughts in response to some detail or event, isn’t present in AI-generated works. Right now, that’s being proven very deliberately by the World of Warcraft community, who have managed to manufacture fake announcements to trigger AI bots on certain websites to pass off bogus information as news.
“I’m so excited they finally introduced Glorbo!!!” reads a Reddit thread with 2,000 upvotes. The post goes on to lay down some fake history about the fake Glorbo. (Sorry if you got excited there, Glorbo is not a real thing. I checked. I have that feature in my brain.) It was all part of a deliberate ploy to trick AI, as made clear by the post’s opening salvo: “Honestly, this new feature makes me so happy! I just really want some major bot operated news websites to publish an article about this.” Folks in the comments got in on the fun as well, chiming in with other, more obviously fake WoW facts: “This is by far the best change since they made Klaxxi a neutral playable race as a part of the epic quest to depose Quackion, the Aspect of Ducks,” reads one such comment.
Well, it worked. That bogus information resulted in an AI-generated article hitting a website called The Portal. The article was attributed to “Lucy Reed,” a byline which, according to Wowhead, sees as many as 83 articles attributed to it per day. It seems pretty unlikely that she’s a real person.
The AI text documents the excitement about Glorbo as if it were a real thing, with a headline that reads “World of Warcraft (WoW) Players Excited For Glorbo’s Introduction.” The text quotes liberally from the Reddit thread stocked with phony information about the game, even grabbing absurd terms like “the Aspect of Ducks.”
Though there are no live links to document this and the article in question has since been deleted, The Portal seems to have responded to its own reporting on Glorbo by producing another article documenting players “reacting to the use of AI to scrape content from their subreddit for popular gaming sites,” pretty much giving the game away that The Portal really is powered by AI doing just that.
The “Players React to AI-Generated Content” piece is no longer live. Additionally, it appears that The Portal tweaked the headline on the original Glorbo article to declare it “satire” before taking it down entirely.
While the article was taken down, if 2,000 upvotes is all it takes to get an AI article published around some fake information, I can only imagine what can (and likely will) happen if folks out there are eager to generate buzz around other fake news. Right now, Glorbo is a silly example, but more insidious, intentional results are demonstrably possible here.