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Artificial intelligence is already making inroads into elections

For a significant percentage of Americans, 2020 was a year when election results entered the realm of relativity. Donald Trump he lost, but he and his supporters still declared victory. It seems that this year’s election will be marked by another novel distortion of reality. Thanks to advances in AI, malicious actors can now create fraudulent messages from political leaders in minutes, rejecting authentic recordings of their own words as fakes.

An example of a previous scenario that played out this week ahead of New Hampshire’s Democratic primary: On Sunday, state residents began receiving robocalls from an AI-created impersonator. Joe Biden told voters to skip Tuesday’s primary. The calls, which are being investigated by the New Hampshire Department of Justice, mark the first time artificial intelligence has been used in a major voter suppression campaign. according to The Washington Post. Biden’s campaign said it was «actively discussing additional measures that must be taken immediately,» and one Democratic congressman, Josef Morelle of New York, called on the Justice Department to investigate the matter. «This clear offer to interfere in the New Hampshire primary warrants a thorough investigation,» he wrote in the letter to the DOJ, urging federal officials to «deter further AI-based attacks that will disrupt American democracy and unsettle the American electorate.»

Meanwhile, Trump seized on public fears about AI to deny the legitimacy of a recent Lincoln Project ad. The spot compiled footage of Trump’s various gaffes — namely, his botched attempt at a word anonymous and his failure to correctly identify which California city he visited in 2018. These incidents, while all real and easily verifiable, were nevertheless dismissed by Trump as fabrications. “The perverts and losers at the failed and once disbanded Lincoln Project and others are using AI (artificial intelligence) in their fake TV ads to make me look as bad and pathetic as Crooked Joe Biden, which is not easy. «, he wrote on his social network last month. «FoxNews should not be running these ads.»

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Like Biden, Trump has fallen victim to AI-generated smears. Actor Mark Ruffalo apologized earlier this month after sharing fake photos on X, formerly known as Twitter, that allegedly showed Trump mingling with teenage girls on a plane owned by Jeffrey Epstein. «Gross. #MAGA wants to label everyone on those flights as pedophiles except for one guy who smiles in a group of young girls who are all headed to Esptein’s ‘Fantasy Island’ with him,» Ruffalo wrote in the since-deleted post. Trump, in turn, said , that AI «will be a big and very dangerous problem in the future» and added, «Strict laws should be developed against AI».

Generative artificial intelligence technology has advanced to the point where it is relatively easy to create near-realistic renderings of anyone saying or doing almost anything, as long as the model has enough photos, video footage, and audio recordings. It’s a huge leap from where the technology was just a few years ago, when AI’s role in politics was largely comedic.

Perhaps fearing regulatory threats to the industry, OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence company, has banned developers from using its technology on rendering of a chatbot of Dean Phillips, the Democratic congressman challenged Biden in the long-running presidential bid. The voicebot — powered by Phillips’ past speeches and media appearances — was created by a pro-Phillips super PAC as a flashy means for voters to get to know the candidate. However, the so-called Dean.Bot proved to be in violation of OpenAI’s usage policy and has since been shut down. «We recently removed the account of a developer who knowingly violated our API Usage Policy, which prohibits political campaigning or impersonating an individual without consent,» an OpenAI spokesperson Lindsey Held he said and Post. Visitors to the bot’s website are now greeted with the message: «Sorry, DeanBot is currently running a campaign.»

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