States rush to combat AI threat to elections

States rush to combat AI threat to elections

by Zachary Roth, Minnesota Reformer  

This year’s presidential election will be the first since generative AI — a form of artificial intelligence that can create new content, including images, audio, and video — became widely available. That’s raising fears that millions of voters could be deceived by a barrage of political deepfakes.

But, while Congress has done little to address the issue, states are moving aggressively to respond — though questions remain about how effective any new measures to combat AI-created disinformation will be.

Last year, a fake, AI-generated audio recording of a conversation between a liberal Slovakian politician and a journalist, in which they discussed how to rig the country’s upcoming election, offered a warning to democracies around the world.

Here in the United States, the urgency of the AI threat was driven home in February, when, in the days before the New Hampshire primary, thousands of voters in the state received a robocall with an AI-generated voice impersonating President Joe Biden, urging them not to vote. A Democratic operative working for a rival candidate has admitted to commissioning the calls.

In response to the call, the Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling restricting robocalls that contain AI-generated voices.

Some conservative groups even appear to be using AI tools to assist with mass voter registration challenges — raising concerns that the technology could be harnessed to help existing voter suppression schemes.

“Instead of voters looking to trusted sources of information about elections, including their state or county board of elections, AI-generated content can grab the voters’ attention,” said Megan Bellamy, vice president for law and policy at the Voting Rights Lab, an advocacy group that tracks election-related state legislation. “And this can lead to chaos and confusion leading up to and even after Election Day.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Comments are closed.