AI’s Growing Influence in Politics Raises Concerns for 2024 US Election
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly influential factor in politics, leading to concerns about its potential impact on the upcoming 2024 US presidential election. This worry stems from the emergence of AI tools capable of creating compelling images and written content within seconds, raising questions about the authenticity and trustworthiness of political campaigns.
Experts predict that both political parties will utilize AI technology not just in the upcoming election but in every future election as well. Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, acknowledged the potential benefits of AI in campaigning while also expressing uncertainty regarding its impact on public trust in democratic institutions. Lieu has introduced a bill advocating for AI regulation and has even used AI to draft a bill for regulating AI itself.
The use of AI-generated content in political campaigns is already evident. During Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign, an online ad featured AI-generated images depicting former President Donald Trump embracing Anthony Fauci. Likewise, in response to President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, the Republican National Committee used dystopian AI-generated imagery for an advertisement. This trend suggests a growing reliance on AI by political figures seeking election, even as lawmakers work to regulate the technology.
To understand the potential influence of AI in politics, the US can look to countries in Africa. Nanjira Sambuli, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, cited Gabon’s 2019 election as an example. Rumors spread during the election about a deepfake video featuring a president who had not been seen in public, resulting in a coup attempt. Sambuli also highlighted the positive impact of AI in expanding political participation, particularly in Africa, through technologies that facilitate translation and speech recognition across various languages and dialects.
While AI has the potential to lower costs and enable new candidates to run grassroots campaigns, it also poses the risk of inundating voters with campaign emails and ads. Representative Lieu even suggested that AI could be used to write fundraising emails in the style of a Taylor Swift song. This highlights the potential for AI to both enhance and potentially saturate political communication.
As AI continues to advance, it is crucial to strike a balance between harnessing its benefits and addressing the concerns it raises. Policymakers must navigate the complexities of regulating AI to ensure transparency, accountability, and integrity in the political process. With the 2024 US election on the horizon, understanding and proactively addressing the impact of AI in politics is imperative for preserving democratic principles and promoting fair and trustworthy elections.