AI at center: The 2024 US election collides with the rise of AI


“I really care about Ron DeSantis,” Hillary Clinton revealed in a surprise online support video. “He’s exactly the kind of guy this country needs, and I really mean that.

Finally, Joe Biden dropped the mask, unleashing cruelty on a transgender person. “You will never be a real woman,” the chief grumbled.

Welcome to the US Presidential Race 2024, where reality is on the line.

Clinton and BidenDeepfake videos – real-life videos made by artificial intelligence algorithms trained from a large number of images across the Internet – are among the thousands of videos appearing on social media, blurring the paths between fact and fiction in the world of politics. American Polarizer.

While this type of synthetic media has been around for several years, it has been boosted over the past year by a host of new “generative AI” tools like Midjourney, which make it easy and inexpensive to create “deepfakes,” according to interviews conducted by Reuters. With about 20 experts in areas including artificial intelligence, online disinformation, and political activism.

“It’s going to be very difficult for voters to tell right from wrong,” said Darrell West, a senior research fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation. “And you can imagine how Trump or Biden supporters could use this technology to make an opponent look bad.”

“There could be things falling apart right before the election that no one has a chance to remove.”

According to Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Human Technology, a nonprofit organization that studies the impact of technology on society, tools capable of generating “deepfakes” are released with few, if any, safeguards. – perfect lunatics, to prevent harmful disinformation as the tech industry engages in an AI arms race.

Former President Donald Trump, who will compete with DeSantis and other candidates for the Republican nomination to take on Biden, himself shared a fake video of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper earlier this month on his Truth Social media platform.

“It was President Donald J. Trump who put the mash on us here, at the Presidential General Meeting live on CNN,” Cooper says in the video, though the words don’t match the movement of his lips.

CNN said the video was a “deep fake”. A representative for Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment on the clip, which appeared on his son Donald Jr.’s Twitter page only this week.

Although major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have worked to ban and remove deepfakes, their effectiveness in policing this type of content varies.

Pence Debvake, not Trump

There were three times as many deepfakes videos of all kinds and eight times as many deepfakes posted online this year than in the same period in 2022, according to DeepMedia, a company that works on synthetic media discovery tools.

In total, DeepMedia estimates that about 500,000 deep video and audio will be shared on social media sites globally in 2023. Audio cloning used to cost $10,000 in server fees and AI training until late last year, but startups are now offering it to a few, she says. company.

According to those interviewed, no one knows exactly where generative AI is leading or how to effectively protect against its power of massive misinformation.

OpenAI, the industry leader that has changed the game in recent months with the launch of ChatGPT and its updated GPT-4 model, faces this same question. The company’s CEO, Sam Altman, told Congress this month that election integrity was a “major concern” and called for swift regulation of the industry.

Unlike some smaller startups, OpenAI has taken steps to restrict the use of its products in politics, according to a Reuters analysis of the terms of service of half a dozen large companies that provide generative AI services.

Warranties, however, have their shortcomings.

For example, OpenAI says it blocks its DALL-E image generator from creating public figures — and in fact, when Reuters attempted to create images of Trump and Biden, the request was blocked and a message popped up saying it “may not follow our content policy.”

However, Reuters was able to capture photos of at least a dozen other US politicians, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who also plans to run for the White House in 2024.

OpenAI also restricts any “widespread” use of its products for political purposes. This prohibits the use of its AI to send mass emails intended for voters, for example.

The company, which is backed by Microsoft, explained its political policies to Reuters in an interview, but did not respond to other requests for comment about shortcomings in enforcing its policies, such as preventing the creation of images of politicians.

Many small businesses do not have explicit restrictions on political content.

Midjourney, which launched last year, is a major player in AI-generated imagery, with 16 million users on the official Discord server. The app, which ranges in price from free to $60 per month depending on factors like image quantity and speed, is a favorite among designers and AI artists for its ability to create hyper-realistic portraits of celebrities and politicians, according to four AI researchers and creators interviewed.

Midjourney did not respond to a request for comment for this article. During a conversation on Discord last week, CEO David Holz said the company will likely make changes before the election to combat misinformation.

Halls added that Midjourney is interested in collaborating on an industrial solution to enable traceability of AI-generated images using a digital equivalent of a watermark and would consider blocking images of political candidates.

AI-generated republican advertising

Even as the industry grapples with how to prevent abuse, some political actors themselves are looking to harness the power of generative AI to improve their campaigns.

To date, the only AI-generated political ad that made headlines in the US was published by the Republican National Committee at the end of April. The 30-second ad, which the RNC revealed was generated entirely by artificial intelligence, used fake imagery to suggest a catastrophic scenario should Joe Biden be re-elected, with China invading Taiwan and San Francisco locked down for the crime.

The RNC did not respond to requests for comment on this ad or its broader use of artificial intelligence. The Democratic National Committee declined to comment on its use of the technology.

Reuters polled all of the Republican presidential campaigns about their use of artificial intelligence. Most did not respond, though Nikki Haley’s team said they did not use the technology, and unsuccessful candidate Perry Johnson’s campaign said they use artificial intelligence to “create and duplicate copies,” without giving further details.

The potential of generative AI in producing campaign emails, messages and ads is compelling to some campaigners who believe this inexpensive technology could level the playing field in elections.

Even deep in rural Hillsdale, Michigan, artificial intelligence is on the move.

John Smith, the Republican chairman of Michigan’s 5th District, is hosting several educational meetings for his allies to learn about the use of artificial intelligence for social media and ad creation.

“Artificial intelligence helps us play against the big cats,” he explains. “I see the biggest progress in the local races. Someone who is 65 years old, a farmer and county commissioner, could easily be outpaced by a younger cat thanks to technology.

Political consulting is also looking to harness artificial intelligence, further blurring the line between the real and the unreal.

Numinar Analytics, a political data company focused on Republican clients, has begun experimenting with AI-powered content creation for voice and images, as well as voice generation to create personalized messages with voice. .

Honan Strategy Group, a democratic survey and strategy group, is trying to develop a survey bot based on artificial intelligence. The company hopes to deploy a female bot in time for the 2023 municipal elections, CEO Bradley Honan said, citing research showing that men and women are more likely to talk to a female interviewer.

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