AI EXPERIMENTATION IS HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD FOR LOW-PROFILE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
Techlife News|Techlife News #660
Adrian Perkins was running for reelection as the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, when he was surprised by a harsh campaign hit piece.
AI EXPERIMENTATION IS HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD FOR LOW-PROFILE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

The satirical TV commercial, paid for by a rival political action committee, used artificial intelligence to depict Perkins as a high school student who had been called into the principal’s office. Instead of giving a tongue-lashing for cheating on a test or getting in a fight, the principal blasted Perkins for failing to keep communities safe and create jobs.

The video superimposed Perkins’ face onto the body of an actor playing him. Although the ad was labeled as being created with “deep learning computer technology,” Perkins said it was powerful and resonated with voters. He didn’t have enough money or campaign staff to counteract it, and thinks it was one of many reasons he lost the 2022 race. A representative for the group behind the ad did not respond to a request for comment.

“One hundred percent the deepfake ad affected our campaign because we were a down-ballot, less resourced place,” said Perkins, a Democrat. “You had to pick and choose where you put your efforts.”

While such attacks are staples of the roughand-tumble of political campaigning, the ad targeting Perkins was notable: It’s believed to be one of the first examples of an AI deepfake deployed in a political race in the U.S. It also foreshadowed a dilemma facing candidates in scores of state and local races this year as generative AI has become more widespread and easier to use.

The technology — which can do everything from streamlining mundane campaign tasks to creating fake images, video or audio — already has been deployed in some national races around the country and has spread far more widely in elections across the globe. Despite its power as a tool to mislead, efforts to regulate it have been piecemeal or delayed, a gap that could have the greatest impact on lower-profile races down the ballot.

This story is from the Techlife News #660 edition of Techlife News.

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This story is from the Techlife News #660 edition of Techlife News.

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