Written by 9:08 pm AI problems, AI Threat, Politics

### Unveiling the Commencement of AI Election Chaos with the Biden Deepfake Robocall

“Don’t leave your common sense behind.”

Voters throughout New Hampshire reportedly received phone calls purportedly from President Joe Biden ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday. The calls, originating from the number of a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, seemed to advise individuals to refrain from voting in the upcoming primary and instead “save their vote” for the general election in November.

The voice on the call, imitating Biden, exclaimed, “What a bunch of malarkey,” echoing one of the president’s commonly used phrases. It further conveyed, “Voting this Tuesday only aids the Republicans in their endeavor to re-elect Donald Trump. Your vote holds significance in November, not on this Tuesday.”

However, it was later revealed that the phone call and its message were not authentic but rather a deepfake generated by artificial intelligence to replicate the president’s voice. The intention behind this deceptive tactic appeared to be to disrupt a write-in campaign for Biden since he was not listed on the ballot due to New Hampshire scheduling its primary before South Carolina’s on Feb. 3, which serves as the initial official nominating election for the Democratic Party.

Kathy Sullivan, the former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party whose number was associated with the robocalls, expressed her lack of knowledge regarding the perpetrators behind the deepfake Biden calls. She expressed hope that those responsible would face legal repercussions to the fullest extent. Subsequently, the state attorney general’s office announced an investigation into the matter, condemning the deepfake as an assault on democracy.

The Attorney General stated, “These messages seem to constitute an illegal effort to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and suppress New Hampshire voters. New Hampshire voters are advised to completely disregard the content of this message.”

This incident with the robocall highlights the imminent threat posed by advancing technology as the nation prepares for the November election, underscoring the lack of readiness among policymakers and the public to combat its implications. Despite efforts by companies like OpenAI to restrict the misuse of their technology by politicians, the widespread accessibility of AI has enabled almost anyone to disseminate misinformation through such means.

Cybersecurity expert Dominique Shelton Leipzig emphasized the potential misuse of AI by criminal elements to undermine democracy and manipulate public opinion, as demonstrated in the New Hampshire incident. This event is just one among several recent instances of election-related deepfakes, indicating a concerning trend in leveraging AI for deceptive purposes.

As the 2024 elections draw near, the discourse around AI’s impact on electoral processes becomes increasingly crucial. While acknowledging the risks associated with AI-generated misinformation, Leipzig advocates for embracing technology to enhance the dissemination of accurate information and engage voters effectively. By utilizing AI for tasks like campaign messaging and voter outreach, candidates can empower voters with reliable information on a broader scale.

Despite the challenges posed by AI in elections, Leipzig asserts that humans ultimately control the impact of this technology. It is imperative for voters to exercise critical thinking and for candidates to guide them towards credible sources of information aligned with their campaign messages. Leveraging AI responsibly can not only improve campaign strategies but also facilitate the delivery of accurate election information to the electorate, ensuring a more informed and empowered voting populace.

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Last modified: January 24, 2024
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