Tuesday 20 June 2023

Political Strategists Grapple With Artificial Intelligence’s Political Ramifications

 Political strategists and marketers on both sides of the aisle are grappling with the potential political ramifications of emerging artificial intelligence technology. 

The new tools, which include AI-generated images and videos and voice cloning capabilities, have the potential to impact elections and have already been put to use by campaigns.  

Tom Newhouse, the vice president of digital marketing at a Republican marketing and consulting firm called Converge Media, believes that the new technologies will improve voter targeting efforts. 

“It’s going to be improving fundraising capabilities by better targeting, whether that is location targeting, income, hobbies or habits, providing campaigns with up-to-date voter data,” said Newhouse.     

But other forms of AI, particularly generative content that mimics people’s voices and likenesses, can potentially deceive voters. Becki Donatelli, a Republican digital consultant and the president of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), contended that “The use of ‘deep fake’ generative content is a dramatically different and dangerous threat to democracy.” 

The AAPC Board of Directors unanimously issued a policy statement condemning the use of deep fake content by political campaigns.

Meanwhile, a Fox News poll found that Republicans are significantly less likely to favor regulation of AI by the federal government, though the poll did not center around the political ramifications that the new technologies have. 

Nevertheless, the vast majority of respondents did favor regulation, with 82% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans saying it was “very” or “somewhat” important for the federal government to regulate AI. 


The Republican Party has already gotten to work employing AI, releasing an AI-generated video warning of a possible dystopian future if President Biden wins a second term. The 32-second clip includes the disclaimer, “Built entirely with AI imagery.”


Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’s campaign has also used AI-generated images.. A video posted to Twitter by the DeSantis War Room included AI-generated images of former President Donald Trump hugging and kissing Anthony Fauci. 

Democrats are also grappling with the ramifications of emergent AI technology. More than 70 officials flocked to a Zoom meeting held by Arena, a progressive organization that trains candidates and campaign staffers, to discuss generative AI content such as deep fakes and voice cloning. 

Pat Dennis, the president of a Democrat-affiliated opposition research group called American Bridge 21st Century, voiced his concern over AI when he said, “We don’t know what’s coming.”

He explained that bad actors would have “an exponentially easier time writing more stuff, flooding the zone.” Dennis also noted, however, that if footage of candidates were to be deep faked, it could lead to lawsuits. 

A.J. Nash, the vice president of intelligence at a cybersecurity firm called ZeroFox, also warned of the potential impacts of generative content.

“To me, the big leap forward is the audio and video capabilities that have emerged,” said Nash. “When you can do that on a large scale, and distribute it on social platforms, well, it’s going to have a major impact.”

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search