Today, McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, has revealed that 30% of men (and 26% of all adults) surveyed will use artificial intelligence tools to pen a love letter this Valentine's Day. These findings are part of McAfee's new ?Modern Love' research report which surveyed 5,000 people in nine countries to discover how AI and the internet are changing love and relationships.
Using an AI tool such as ChatGPT to write a romantic missive could be a risky tactic, though, with 49% of respondents saying they'd be offended if they found out the note they received had been produced by a machine. The most popular reason given for using AI as a ghostwriter was that it would make the sender feel more confident (27%), while others cited lack of time (21%) or lack of inspiration (also 21%), while 10% said it would just be quicker and easier and they didn't think they would get found out.
Who Will Win Your Love: Human Versus Machine
While using AI bots to help those who feel ill-equipped to express their feelings might seem like a harmless use of an emerging technology, not to mention more evidence that it has become truly mainstream, it demonstrates the growing challenges people face in identifying whether information received online is from a person or a machine.
Two-thirds of adults (69%) were unable to tell the difference between a love letter written by AI and one written by a human being. In fact, 65% even preferred a machine-generated note in the style of e.e. cummings to his original 1952 poem I carry your heart with me.
"With the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence, particularly tools such as ChatGPT that anybody with a web browser can access, the chances of receiving machine-generated information are on the rise," said Steve Grobman, McAfee Chief Technology Officer. "While some AI use cases may be innocent enough, we know cybercriminals also use AI to scale malicious activity. And with Valentine's Day around the corner, it's important to look out for tell-tale signs of malicious activity ? like suspicious requests for money or personal information. To find a true match, love-seekers should stay vigilant and use security solutions that can help safeguard their privacy and identity and protect them from clicking on malicious links a scammer might send."
How to Find True Love Online: Watch for Catfishing and Other Cyber Scams
Online dating is more popular than ever, but as McAfee's study shows, it's also never been more difficult to tell the difference between real and fake messages. 66% of adults have engaged in conversation with a stranger after being contacted out of the blue on social media, with Facebook Messenger (39%) and Instagram (33%) being the most popular platforms, while 51% admit to either being catfished themselves ? which involves somebody pretending online to be someone they're not ? or knowing somebody who has.
Those looking for love are often more vulnerable to scams, and cybercriminals use that vulnerability to their advantage, engaging in long, sophisticated attempts to steal from their victims. 55% of respondents said they'd been asked for money by somebody they were talking to online, which is always a red flag, particularly if you've never met them in person, but personal details can be just as valuable to criminals these days. Personally identifiable information, from your place of birth to your passport information, can be extracted over time and used together to access online banking or potentially even sold on the dark web.
Of the 57% of adults who said they have been asked to share this kind of information online, 16% were asked for their date of birth, 9% were requested to reveal passwords, and 20% were asked to share intimate photos or videos, which are then potentially used for blackmail purposes. Meanwhile, 55% have been asked to transfer cash and, in 20% of those cases, the amount asked for was more than $10,000, which just goes to show the types of crimes that are increasingly more common on social media.
"Valentine's Day is a wonderful time to celebrate love and we believe people should be free to safely pursue and enjoy all the fun and excitement that comes with online dating," commented Grobman. "We know it's easy to drop your guard when chatting to a potential partner but it's important to be on alert if you're asked to share potentially sensitive information about yourself. We don't want to put people off finding a perfect match online, but it's important that they only fall in love, not for a scam."
Fortunately, a lot of people are already extremely vigilant when interacting with strangers online and requests for personal info often give scammers away. 29% of respondents said that's what made them realize that not everything was as it seemed, while 16% became suspicious when the person they were speaking to started to discuss cryptocurrency.
To access the full survey data, including results broken out by country, please visit HERE.
How to Protect Yourself:
The survey was conducted online between January 27th and February 1st, 2023 by Market Research Company MSI-ACI via email inviting people 18 years and older to complete an online questionnaire. In total 5,109 people completed the survey from 9 countries included the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, India, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.
McAfee Corp. is a global leader in online protection for consumers. Focused on protecting people, not just devices, McAfee's consumer solutions adapt to users' needs in an always online world, empowering them to live securely through integrated, intuitive solutions that protect their families and communities with the right security at the right moment. For more information, please visit https://www.mcafee.com.
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