WASHINGTON: Observers believe that the fast-evolving AI technology could turbocharge misinformation in US political campaigns.
Savants cite instances of a fake image of Donald Trump’s arrest; a dystopian video of a dark future in the event of Joe Biden’s reelection; an audio deepfake of both men slinging insults.
The 2024 presidential race is expected to be the first American election that will see the widespread use of advanced tools powered by artificial intelligence that have increasingly blurred the boundaries between fact and fiction.
Campaigns on both sides of the political divide are likely to harness this technology — which is cheap, easily accessible and whose advances have vastly outpaced regulatory responses – for voter outreach and to churn out fundraising newsletters within seconds.
But technologists also warn of bad actors exploiting AI to sow chaos at a moment when the political climate is already hyper-polarized in the United States and many voters dispute verified facts including that Trump lost the 2020 election.
In a sobering bellwether of what may become widespread ahead of the 2024 race, fake images of Trump being hauled away by New York police officers – created by an AI art generator – went viral in March.
Last month, in response to Biden’s announcement that he will run for reelection in 2024, the Republican National Committee almost instantly released a video made of AI-produced images of a dystopian future if he wins.
It showed photo-realistic images of panic on Wall Street, China invading Taiwan, immigrants overrunning border agents, and a military takeover of San Francisco amid dire crime.
And earlier this year, a lifelike but utterly fake AI audio of Biden and Trump – expected to square off next year in a rematch of the 2020 election – hurling insults at each other made the rounds on TikTok.
“The impact of AI will reflect the values of those using it – bad actors in particular have new tools to supercharge their efforts to fuel hate and suspicion, or to falsify images, sound, or video in an effort to bamboozle the press and public,” Joe Rospars, founder of left-leaning political consultancy Blue State, told the Media.
“Combating those efforts will require vigilance by the media and tech companies, and by voters themselves,” added Rospars.