The good, the bad, and the ugly of election with a cyber-edge!
It is a little less than a year and a half until the next presidential election, and the 2024 season is shaping up to be quite the battle.
As we have been following the rise of chatbots and the expanding uses of artificial intelligence, now might be a good time to project to see how this new resource might be used in the upcoming campaigns. Once the election results have been tallied and the Legal Insurrection team has recovered from Election Night, we can assess the accuracy of the predictions.
In looking ahead, many “experts” are already worried about the “deep fakes” penetrating social media.
While such synthetic media has been around for several years, it’s been turbocharged over the past year by of a slew of new “generative AI” tools such as Midjourney that make it cheap and easy to create convincing deepfakes, according to Reuters interviews with about two dozen specialists in fields including AI, online misinformation and political activism.
“It’s going to be very difficult for voters to distinguish the real from the fake. And you could just imagine how either Trump supporters or Biden supporters could use this technology to make the opponent look bad,” said Darrell West, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation.
“There could be things that drop right before the election that nobody has a chance to take down.”
The good news is that those who regularly use social media know this issue. As a result, there may be an increased effort to double- and triple-check the source…which would be a pleasant change from how our media has recently operated.
This one is clearly a joke, but soon there could be thousands, posing as real, in time for the election. We must set rules now. https://t.co/xaVF5PquH9
— Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) May 27, 2023
The impact may be most felt in the smaller races during the 2024 cycle. Chatbots and AI resources can be utilized inexpensively to create compelling content, impactful messaging, and focus on issues of importance to local or regional voters.
AI’s real impact on campaigning will be “behind the scenes,” said Tom Newhouse, vice president of digital marketing at Converge Media, a Republican advertising and consulting firm. “It’s going to be improving fundraising capabilities by better targeting, whether that is location targeting, income, hobbies or habits, providing campaigns with up-to-date voter data, more personalized advertising, [or] messages.”
“There are many small campaigns that I think can potentially leverage the tools to [not just] save time, but to create content that may not have been possible otherwise,” said Larry Huynh, a partner at Trilogy Interactive, a Democratic digital marketing firm.
It is interesting to note that artificial intelligence has already been utilized in a few elections. New Zealand’s National Party has admitted using AI to generate people in their attack advertisements.
The efforts were imperfect.
The ads included images of a group of robbers storming a jewellery store, two nurses of Pacific island descent, and an apparent crime victim gazing out of a window. One ad even appeared to show the cast of the Fast and Furious franchise.
The images, showing a woman with enormous eyes, two nurses with oddly plasticine skin and thieves wearing balaclavas with openings that would not match up to human features, quickly raised suspicions.
Questioned by Newshub on whether the images had been created by AI, party leader Christopher Luxon initially said “I don’t know about the topic in the sense of I am not sure. You are making an accusation that we are using it, I am not sure that we are. I will need to talk to our team.”
But the party later confirmed the nurses, crime victims and robbers were the work of a computer program. “Yes we have used AI to create some stock images,” a National party spokesperson told Newshub, calling it “an innovative way to drive our social media,” and adding that the party was “committed to using it responsibly”.
A few weeks ago, the Republican National Committee offered an AI-created ad targeting Biden.
The Republican National Committee responded to President Biden’s re-election announcement Tuesday with an AI-generated video depicting a dystopian version of the future if he is re-elected.
The video features AI-created images appearing to show Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrating at an Election Day party, followed by a series of imagined reports about international and domestic crises that the ad suggests would follow a Biden victory in 2024.
I suspect the ad, which is no different than any other attack ad in terms of targeting, persuaded many voters one way or the other. So, I think the hysteria is likely over-stated.
Interestingly, one party in Denmark is developing policies based on AI input.
Launched in May, Det Syntetiske Parti (The Synthetic Party), which aims to be “the last new party in Denmark”, is breaking ground by deriving its policies entirely using AI.
Designed and programmed by the artistic collective Computer Lars in partnership with the tech nonprofit MindFuture Foundation, the algorithmic party hopes to stand in the country’s next general election in June 2023, with the intention of targeting the 20 percent of Danes that did not vote in the previous 2019 election.
For Asker Bryld Staunaes, one of the founding members of the Computer Lars collective, The Synthetic Party represents “the political vision of the common person”.
I predict that 2024 will contain all the good, the bad, and the ugly of a typical presidential cycle…but with a cyber edge.DONATE
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