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Navigating
the
Misinformatio
n Minefield:
The Role of
Higher
Education in
the Era of
Generative AI
Mark Carrigan
mark.carrigan@manchester.a
c.uk
Part 1
A personal experience
of attempted fraud
Oh no! Am
I getting
sued?
😬
Hey wait, I know what a DMCA
notice looks like 🤔
• Their e-mail wasn’t
written as a legal
document
• DMCA notices go to the
web host, not the
content producer
• The image in question
was from a royalty free
image site
• They’re asking me to
insert a URL into my
post
• The legal section of the
letter is nonsense
• The firm and their
A specialist in ‘corporate
legal matters'
The domain name was
registered in Iceland in
December 2023
There’s no Anna Brown registered to
practice law in Massachusetts….
Have you noticed how
they’re all looking
perfectly at the
Part 2
The threat to knowledge
What’s going on here?
• Blackhat SEO involves using unethical and/or
illegal means to increase the search engine
visibility of clients.
• GAI makes it possible to produce a website and
supporting materials to legitimize these
speculative claims in minutes
• The costs of undertaking this sort of activity
effectively have shrunk rapidly: time,
expertise, money etc.
• This is disinformation: strategic deception
intended to promote political or commercial
goals.
• As opposed to misinformation: incorrect or
It’s not hard to get around
the safeguards
Hamilton, Pierce &
Lee: Where
Tradition Meets
Innovation
Welcome to Hamilton, Pierce
& Lee, a premier law firm
nestled in the heart of
Boston, Massachusetts. With
a storied history dating
back over a century, our
firm has established itself
as a beacon of legal
excellence, tradition, and
innovation. Our team of
distinguished attorneys is
dedicated to providing top-
tier legal services across a
broad spectrum of practice
Even if the
safeguards
were foolproof
• There are still open source GAI
tools which can be run locally
with minimal expertise
• In fact ChatGPT can give you
instructions and even write you
bespoke python code to support
you in doing this
• The means of disinformation are
now freely available to anyone
who is willing to spend even a
small amount of time learning to
act on them
Huge advances in text-to-video
coming rapidly
Part 3
The Challenge for
Education
The next phase of
post-truth society
• The line between truth and falsehood is
becoming increasingly blurred
• Fake evidence can be made to seem real.
Real evidence can be explained away as
fake.
• This leads to a breakdown of trust in
representations. How do we know what to
believe?
• Social media has already led to a post-
truth environment in which there's no
longer a consensus on factual matters
• The rapid uptake of synthetic media
(text, audio, video, images) is likely
to radically intensify those problems in
the digital public sphere
Higher education has a
crucial role to play
• There are forms of digital
literacy which protect against
these challenges: understanding
generative AI, recognising red
flags, evaluating sources and
analysing claims
• Higher education generates
expertise (through research) and
experts (through teaching)
leaving it crucial in a post-
truth world (Harrison and
Luckett 2019)
• This is why academics need to
understand how to navigate the
Unfortunately generative AI is
already contributing to declining
standards in academic
publishing...
• There are existing
problems with a
'publish or perish'
culture and the rise
of 'predatory
publishers' which
target anxious
academics
• But when academics
face sustained
pressures on their
time and energy, it
can be tempting to
The problem is fundamentally a
matter of trust
• At the heart of post-truth is a breakdown of
trust in expert knowledge. Experts are seen as
partial and self-interested.
• It's impractical to suggest we ban generative
AI use by academics (unenforceable and self-
defeating) which means we have to regulate its
use.
• By developing shared standards for reflexive
and accountable use of generative AI we can
retain trust in the knowledge we produce
• This helps fortify trust in wider society.
Responsible practice in higher education can't
What does this mean in
practice?
• Academics should be trained in responsible use
of generative AI:
oUsing it as a thinking tool and administrative
assistant rather than a system which will do writing
and analysis for you
oReporting on your use of generative AI in
publications and research projects
oEnsuring AI literacy so the fundamental limitations
of this technology are widely understood e.g. it
will never be fully reliable, particularly for
factual information
oDevelop communities of practice in which colleagues
can share and reflect on their use of these systems
We need to be ready for
continual development of the
technology
Questions

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Navigating the Misinformation Minefield: The Role of Higher Education in the Era of Generative AI

  • 1. Navigating the Misinformatio n Minefield: The Role of Higher Education in the Era of Generative AI Mark Carrigan mark.carrigan@manchester.a c.uk
  • 2. Part 1 A personal experience of attempted fraud
  • 3. Oh no! Am I getting sued? 😬
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. Hey wait, I know what a DMCA notice looks like 🤔 • Their e-mail wasn’t written as a legal document • DMCA notices go to the web host, not the content producer • The image in question was from a royalty free image site • They’re asking me to insert a URL into my post • The legal section of the letter is nonsense • The firm and their
  • 8. A specialist in ‘corporate legal matters'
  • 9. The domain name was registered in Iceland in December 2023
  • 10. There’s no Anna Brown registered to practice law in Massachusetts….
  • 11. Have you noticed how they’re all looking perfectly at the
  • 12.
  • 13. Part 2 The threat to knowledge
  • 14. What’s going on here? • Blackhat SEO involves using unethical and/or illegal means to increase the search engine visibility of clients. • GAI makes it possible to produce a website and supporting materials to legitimize these speculative claims in minutes • The costs of undertaking this sort of activity effectively have shrunk rapidly: time, expertise, money etc. • This is disinformation: strategic deception intended to promote political or commercial goals. • As opposed to misinformation: incorrect or
  • 15. It’s not hard to get around the safeguards
  • 16. Hamilton, Pierce & Lee: Where Tradition Meets Innovation Welcome to Hamilton, Pierce & Lee, a premier law firm nestled in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. With a storied history dating back over a century, our firm has established itself as a beacon of legal excellence, tradition, and innovation. Our team of distinguished attorneys is dedicated to providing top- tier legal services across a broad spectrum of practice
  • 17. Even if the safeguards were foolproof • There are still open source GAI tools which can be run locally with minimal expertise • In fact ChatGPT can give you instructions and even write you bespoke python code to support you in doing this • The means of disinformation are now freely available to anyone who is willing to spend even a small amount of time learning to act on them
  • 18.
  • 19. Huge advances in text-to-video coming rapidly
  • 20.
  • 21. Part 3 The Challenge for Education
  • 22. The next phase of post-truth society • The line between truth and falsehood is becoming increasingly blurred • Fake evidence can be made to seem real. Real evidence can be explained away as fake. • This leads to a breakdown of trust in representations. How do we know what to believe? • Social media has already led to a post- truth environment in which there's no longer a consensus on factual matters • The rapid uptake of synthetic media (text, audio, video, images) is likely to radically intensify those problems in the digital public sphere
  • 23. Higher education has a crucial role to play • There are forms of digital literacy which protect against these challenges: understanding generative AI, recognising red flags, evaluating sources and analysing claims • Higher education generates expertise (through research) and experts (through teaching) leaving it crucial in a post- truth world (Harrison and Luckett 2019) • This is why academics need to understand how to navigate the
  • 24. Unfortunately generative AI is already contributing to declining standards in academic publishing... • There are existing problems with a 'publish or perish' culture and the rise of 'predatory publishers' which target anxious academics • But when academics face sustained pressures on their time and energy, it can be tempting to
  • 25. The problem is fundamentally a matter of trust • At the heart of post-truth is a breakdown of trust in expert knowledge. Experts are seen as partial and self-interested. • It's impractical to suggest we ban generative AI use by academics (unenforceable and self- defeating) which means we have to regulate its use. • By developing shared standards for reflexive and accountable use of generative AI we can retain trust in the knowledge we produce • This helps fortify trust in wider society. Responsible practice in higher education can't
  • 26. What does this mean in practice? • Academics should be trained in responsible use of generative AI: oUsing it as a thinking tool and administrative assistant rather than a system which will do writing and analysis for you oReporting on your use of generative AI in publications and research projects oEnsuring AI literacy so the fundamental limitations of this technology are widely understood e.g. it will never be fully reliable, particularly for factual information oDevelop communities of practice in which colleagues can share and reflect on their use of these systems
  • 27. We need to be ready for continual development of the technology