by Anna Phillips

Welcome back to CTEC in the News! This week was a busy one at CTEC, with a number of our experts being featured in news articles, a podcast, and a new report that we published on Wednesday. Those of you who have been following our Facebook and Twitter pages may have seen a flurry of posts from us over the last few days - I’ll be summing up the content of those and more here.

Before digging into all of these features, however, I’d be remiss not to address the anniversary weighing on the minds of many Americans today. Many of us remember where we were 19 years ago, when al Qaeda operatives circumvented U.S. aviation security checks and crashed airplanes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. Some of us lost family, friends, and colleagues in these attacks; many others lost their loved ones in the wars and conflicts that followed. On this day, we at CTEC want to take a moment to remember all those worldwide who have lost their lives as a result of these events. 

With that said, here’s what our CTEC experts have been up to this week:

AI
First up: on Wednesday CTEC Deputy Director Kris McGuffie and Digital Research Lead Alex Newhouse published a report evaluating the threat potential of GPT-3, OpenAI’s new neural language model, for radicalization efforts by extremist groups. Along with comparing it to GPT-2, they also detailed the prompts they used to assess its risk for weaponization. In their conclusions, they strongly recommended investing in building public policy, educational initiatives, and social norms to help mitigate the risk of GPT-3 generated disinformation.

Yesterday Gizmodo Australia wrote a piece detailing the results of our report, explaining why we decided to, in their words, “Q-pill” an AI bot. 

Special Forces
We also had a podcast feature this week, from our CTEC Senior Research Fellow Chuck Woodson. He appeared on the podcast The Team House, where he talked with Jack Murphy and Dave Parke about his career in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He answered questions regarding his path into SpecOps, his experiences in Vietnam and afterwards, as well as the research and interviews he later conducted on the history of the special forces.

Escalating Violence in the US
This week CTEC Director Jason Blazakis was quoted in three different articles addressing the increasing violence that has occurred at protests across the U.S. recently, and the implications going into the November election.

In an article from USA TODAY he was quoted discussing the actions of Michael Reinoehl, self-proclaimed supporter of the left-leaning antifascist movement killed by federal agents last Thursday in Portland, Oregon. While he considered it inevitable for such events to occur, he stated, “I think it is unfortunate that we’ve seen someone on the far left take the populist bait.”

In interviews with the New York Daily News and the Long Beach Press-Telegram he took a broader approach, focusing on the the dangers of conspiratorial narratives through the example of President Trump. He went into detail on the manner in which Trump fuels his base’s fears and gives justification to their actions, and how this will continue to impact the current polarizing discord going into the elections.

That’s all from us! Stay tuned to see what we get up to in the next week.