Algorithmic processes risk being used to manipulate social and political behaviours

The Council of Europe has called on its 47 member states to tackle the risk that individuals may not be able to form their opinions and take decisions independently of automated systems, and that they may even be subjected to manipulation due to the use of advanced digital technologies, in particular micro-targeting techniques.

Machine learning tools have the growing capacity not only to predict choices but also to influence emotions and thoughts, sometimes subliminally. In a Declaration adopted today, the Committee of Ministers - the organisation’s decision-making body - warns about the risks for democratic societies resulting from the possibility to employ such tools to manipulate and control not only economic choices, but also social and political behaviours.

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