How to Consciously Approach Election Year in the New AI World

How to Consciously Approach Election Year in the New AI World

( – The 2016 and 2020 presidential elections in the United States were undoubtedly contentious in their own right. Still, the 2024 race presents a new threat to voters and candidates alike: artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Politicians and AI leaders have been speaking out on risks that the emerging technology could pose to elections, less than a year out from Election Day 2024.

AI has been developing behind the scenes for years now, but 2023 was a breakthrough year for the technology, which saw widespread consideration and adoption by business leaders, artists, and government officials. AI technology takes several forms, including large language models, prompt-generated images, and so-called “deepfake” voices and videos.

Although many entities have been pondering the effective implementation of AI, others have been considering how bad actors could use the technology to harm electoral processes. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, told US lawmakers on May 16 that election integrity is a “significant” area of concern in the AI industry, which Congress or other regulators need to address.

AI-generated content ought to be clearly marked as such, in an effort to prevent bad actors from duping the public with deepfakes, Altman said. The US also ought to consider licensing and testing protocols for the creation of new AI models, Altman said.

On October 5, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and X CEO Linda Yaccarino, expressing “serious concerns” about the use of AI-generated content in a political context. A lack of transparency about AI-generated content in political advertisements online could lead to mis- and dis-information across social media platforms, the letter said.

Meta then announced on November 6 that it would ban political campaigns and advertisers from utilizing the company’s generative AI products. Advertisers in the housing, employment, health, pharmaceutical, or financial service industries are also banned from using AI features on Meta platforms, the company said.

Considering that regulations on the emerging technology remain sparse, the best tools for voters during the 2024 election cycle are vigilance and skepticism. In the age of AI-generated content, voters need a discerning mind more than ever, as their own eyes and ears are no longer as trustworthy as they once were.

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