20:49 GMT +311 December 2019
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     Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

    New AI Tool Surpasses Humans in Evading Internet Censorship in India, China

    © CC BY 2.0 / Mike MacKenzie / Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): While the question whether we should be scared of or embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains debatable, researchers have developed an AI-based tool that automatically learns how to evade censorship in India, China, and Kazakhstan.

    Researchers in London are all set to introduce Geneva (Genetic Evasion) - a tool that finds ways to circumvent restrictions by exploiting gaps in the censors' logic and finding bugs that they said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

    It will be launched at a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery's 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday, Indian news agency IANS has reported.

    "With Geneva, we are at an advantage in the censorship arms race," said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the US' University of Maryland and senior author of the paper.

    "Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which AI systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users deprived of it worldwide," Levin said.

    Demonstrating the tool’s ability to act against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team tested Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google chrome browser installed in it.

    By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

    Similar results were obtained in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, the University of Maryland said in a statement.

    Developed as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically-inspired AI that works in the background while a user browses from a standard Internet browser.

    The system evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations), keeping the instructions that work best at evading censorship.

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