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WJC announces new tech institute and report on AI-fueled Holocaust denial

“We’ll provide strategic guidance, research insights and a moral voice rooted in Jewish perspectives,” Yfat Barak-Cheney, the project’s inaugural director, told JNS.

Star of David. Credit: Pixabay.
Star of David. Credit: Pixabay.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has stepped up efforts to counter the rising threats from artificial intelligence to inflame online hate.

On Tuesday, the organization announced the WJC Institute for Technology and Human Rights, along with its first contribution towards the work numerous organizations are pursuing to understand growing antisemitism on social media and the Internet. 

The institute “will supercharge our vital work defending pluralism and protecting human dignity in the digital age,” inaugural director Yfat Barak-Cheney told JNS. “We’ll provide strategic guidance, research insights and a moral voice rooted in Jewish perspectives and lived experiences confronting hatred.”

In partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the institute released a 26-page report, “AI and the Holocaust: Rewriting History–The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Understanding the Holocaust.”

The analysis came to numerous conclusions about what the WJC described in a statement as “significant risks in misrepresenting or distorting Holocaust history.” Examples offered included creating fake content, generating “deep fake” images intended to undermine authentic historical evidence and spreading antisemitic ideologies.

The report urged greater regulation and ethical guidelines as AI projects move forward in development. It called for collaboration across multiple sectors from the technology developers to politicians to teachers and the communities impacted by the hate.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, described how “through the irresponsible use of AI, we risk the explosive spread of antisemitism.” She called implementing the body’s recommendations on ethical AI “urgent so that younger generations grow up with facts, not fabrications.”

Karel Fracapane, a UNESCO expert on Holocaust education, said the report shows “a manifestation of what is happening in society—it leads to very real political consequences.”

WJC president Ronald S. Lauder said the institute “marks a significant step forward in our efforts to ensure that online manifestations of antisemitism are addressed with the seriousness they deserve.”

Lauder warned that leaving antisemitism “unchecked in the digital world” could result in “real-world harm for Jewish communities around the globe. A coordinated and robust response is urgently needed.”

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