Last month, in New Hampshire, the Democratic primary opponent of Joe Biden, Dean Phillips, lost to the front-runner by a wide majority.
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AI Debuts in 2024 Elections with No Easy Solution
An AI conversational bot was implemented by the super PAC backing Dean Phillips in the run-up to the New Hampshire vote. It was used to respond to inquiries from voters. As the attempt violated their policies, the OpenAI swiftly restricted it. Thus removing Phillips’ AI counterpart easily.
Another incident relating to AI, a mystery for a few weeks, was the Deepfaked robocalls of Biden asking the voters not to show up at the polls to suppress voting. On Tuesday, the Texas-based business, believed to be carrying the calls on its phone network, received a cease-and-desist letter from the FCC.
The two AI incidents highlighted the real threat to political campaigns. The AI outlaws are determined to spread chaos and misinformation.
No law has been passed or implemented by Congress to regulate the usage of AI in elections. The FCC Chair, Sean Cooksey, stated that the commission will be undertaking work on implementing AI rules by early summer.
However, what regulations would be permissible under the First Amendment and whether the FEC has authority over AI in politics are still being determined.
A few states have, however, enacted laws governing AI-generated content utilized for campaigns, while the Washington lawmakers have admitted that they are lagging, including legislator Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who sponsored a bipartisan measure aimed at banning the use of AI-generated deepfakes in elections.
Speaking on Tuesday to a panel sponsored by Microsoft, she stated, “The problem is not going to go away on its own.” She added, “We can’t sit on the sidelines while AI continues to advance without any rules of the road.”
The usage of deepfakes in political advertising was strongly condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants board of directors last year. Hence, the technology now appearing in campaigns was a total surprise.
Democratic candidate Peter Dixon of California’s 16th Congressional District has also employed AI to illustrate his life story for his campaign launch video while expressing that his “lighthearted” video will contribute to the establishment of “ethical norms” for AI in campaigns.
According to Republican digital strategist Eric Wilson, people are “very skittish” about utilizing AI for creative production because of the unresolved ethics. He added, “The last thing a campaign wants to do is to put together an ad, and it gets attention for all the wrong reasons.”
The Ads using AI will become more prevalent as campaign cycles go on. Democratic strategist Maya Hutchinson, who works for a startup that utilizes AI to make advertisements, said that the technology can assist in customizing messages to target various groups “in a very cautious and thoughtful way.”
Laws, regulations, and industry conventions have failed to keep up with the rapid advancement of AI technology. There is enough proof of the dangers of AI from recent elections. The AI-generated content is freely accessible on platforms with only a few restrictions.
Although the advancement is undoubtedly fascinating, there are many risks involved. Hence, on Tuesday, Meta announced that it will begin identifying and labeling photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads created using AI.
In November, Microsoft made a series of commitments that included supporting political campaigns and watermarking content. Google has also announced that it will use AI to find and eliminate false content produced by AI from its platforms.
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