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AI’s Role in the 2024 U.S. elections: benefits and concerns


As the 2024 U.S. election season draws closer, concerns are rising about the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the democratic process. Some are worried that AI could flood the internet with deepfakes and misinformation, creating a future where public opinion can be easily manipulated. However, two experienced political campaign veterans believe that the worst fears related to AI may not come to pass and that the technology could actually benefit democracy by engaging more voters. They argue that using AI in a positive way could support targeted and efficient political messaging, encouraging greater citizen participation in the electoral process. Additionally, AI-driven tools could also play a crucial role in combating misinformation, analyzing trends, and identifying manipulative content to uphold the credibility of political discourse.

Deepfake fears and concerns around upcoming elections

In 2018, director Jordan Peele collaborated with BuzzFeed to create a video featuring a false speech by then-President Barack Obama to illustrate the potential risks of using technology to manipulate public opinion. As the 2024 election season approaches, some pessimists fear that such scenarios could become a reality. Experts caution that advancements in deepfake technology may make it increasingly challenging for the public to distinguish real information from fabrications. Consequently, there is growing concern that malicious actors could utilize this technology to manipulate public discourse and even sway the outcome of elections.

Experts weigh in on the potential dangers of AI-generated content

Oren Etzioni, an AI expert and emeritus at the University of Washington, expressed his concerns about the possibility of AI-generated content depicting fictional events, such as President Joe Biden being taken to the hospital or bank runs. These AI-generated scenarios could result in widespread misinformation and significant societal consequences, as people may believe and act on these false narratives. To address this issue, policymakers and technology developers should collaborate to establish guidelines and safeguards that can prevent the malicious use of AI in spreading fabricated content.

Former Google chairman discusses AI-generated misinformation

Eric Schmidt, former Google chairman, also voiced concerns about AI-generated misinformation during the upcoming election, describing it as one of the most significant short-term threats posed by the technology. “The 2024 elections are going to be a mess because social media is not protecting us from false generated AI,” Schmidt stated. To address these growing concerns, experts and researchers urge tech companies and governments to work together to establish regulations and safeguards against AI-generated fake news. Strategies include investing in further AI advancements to detect and eliminate such content and promoting digital literacy among users, ultimately ensuring a more credible and reliable flow of information.

Featured Image Credit: Produtora Midtrack; Pexels

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