AI threatens to mislead voters in 2024

Computer engineers and political scientists have long warned of the dangers of synthetic media created by artificial intelligence (AI) being used to deceive voters and sway elections. While early iterations of these fake images and videos were often crude and unconvincing, advancements in generative AI tools have made it easier and cheaper to create hyper-realistic content that can spread quickly on social media. This technology can not only be used to mislead voters with targeted campaign emails, texts, and videos but also to impersonate candidates and undermine elections on an unprecedented scale and speed.

The potential implications of this technology for the 2024 campaigns and elections are numerous and troubling. AI-generated content can be used to create automated robocall messages, audio recordings of candidates confessing to crimes or expressing racist views, and fake news reports claiming that a candidate dropped out of the race. The RNC has even released a dystopian campaign ad that features AI-generated images of Taiwan under attack and soldiers patrolling local streets.

Experts are concerned that these AI-generated deepfakes will erode trust in U.S. democracy and incite violence. Legislation has been introduced that would require candidates to label campaign advertisements created with AI and add a watermark indicating that the images are synthetic. While some states have offered their own proposals to address the concerns about deepfakes, many experts believe that the U.S. is not prepared to combat this technology's potential impact.

However, AI can also be used positively in political campaigns, automating tasks such as targeting voters on social media and tracking down donors. Some tech entrepreneurs hope that innovations like AI-generated fundraising emails will offer positives in the 2024 campaign. Nonetheless, the threat of AI-generated disinformation and deepfakes looms large over the American political landscape, requiring immediate attention from lawmakers and political consultants.


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