The Rising Tide of AI-Generated Imagery in Political Campaigns: A Potent, Controversial Strategy

by | Jun 12, 2023 | CROWDSOURCE™ | 0 comments

In the heat of the forthcoming 2024 Presidential election, an unprecedented controversy has emerged that encapsulates the tension and intrigue of modern politics: the use of AI-generated imagery in political campaigns. With high-profile figures like Tim Pool spotlighting the recent instance involving Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, this potent blend of technology and propaganda has thrust itself onto the public stage. But it is important to understand the broader implications and ethical questions raised by these practices in a global context.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of political campaigns, a new technological fad has begun to stir controversy. The campaign for 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has come under fire for its use of AI-generated imagery featuring Donald Trump, and it’s a subject that needs careful examination.

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The video in question, which has now gone viral, uses AI to depict Donald Trump in an embrace with Dr Anthony Fauci, the then-director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The implication being that Trump failed to fire Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, this is certainly not the first instance of AI technology being used in political campaigns, but the realistic nature of these images and the context in which they’re used have sparked significant controversy.

In the heat of the forthcoming 2024 Presidential election, an unprecedented controversy has emerged that encapsulates the tension and intrigue of modern politics: the use of AI-generated imagery in political campaigns. With high-profile figures like Tim Pool spotlighting the recent instance involving Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, this potent blend of technology and propaganda has thrust itself onto the public stage. But it is important to understand the broader implications and ethical questions raised by these practices in a global context.

Prominent podcaster Tim Pool has expressed strong sentiments on this issue, labelling the video as “dirty as s**t.” His viewpoint underlines the broader concerns about the ethical boundaries that AI technology may blur in political campaigning.

In the heat of the forthcoming 2024 Presidential election, an unprecedented controversy has emerged that encapsulates the tension and intrigue of modern politics: the use of AI-generated imagery in political campaigns. With high-profile figures like Tim Pool spotlighting the recent instance involving Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, this potent blend of technology and propaganda has thrust itself onto the public stage. But it is important to understand the broader implications and ethical questions raised by these practices in a global context.

It’s critical to note, however, that DeSantis is not the sole purveyor of this kind of tactic. It’s become increasingly clear that Team Trump also has a history of engaging in these doctored attack campaigns. From images showing DeSantis riding a rhino to other less obvious manipulations targeted at his staff, the Trump campaign has demonstrated a willingness to use similar tactics in their own messaging. This is not a defence of the DeSantis campaign’s actions, but rather a reminder that no one’s hands are entirely clean in this modern era of political campaigning.

The key issue here is the use of AI-generated images to depict events that didn’t happen, which can mislead viewers and shape false narratives. The average voter or viewer may not discern the authenticity of these images in the short time they’re on screen. The resultant narrative building is a serious concern and leads to questions about the future battlefield of politics.

In politics, doctored videos and images aren’t new. However, the realism of these AI-generated images is a serious concern. The sophistication of the AI makes it hard to distinguish between real and manipulated images, especially when the resolution is reduced to hide the imperfections and telltale signs of AI generation.

An interesting aspect of this controversy is that while the resolution of the images is relatively low, the origin of these images, if real, should be easily traceable. Any photograph in the White House press briefing room, for instance, would be taken by a press photographer. Hence, a third-party source should exist. The fact that such an image doesn’t seem to be readily available, combined with the illegible text generated on the seal behind the two, points to AI generation.

Tim Pool’s take on the issue — while interesting given the lack of concern when they originate from Team Trump — aligns with these observations. He emphasized that this use of AI technology in political campaigning “crosses the line”. The blurring line between reality and AI-generated imagery risks the further degeneration of political discourse.

The implication of this issue goes beyond just U.S. politics. Most people worldwide aren’t media literate and may not discern what they see in the media. They might not be aware of the tricks used to manipulate their perceptions. AI usage in this context doesn’t help to remedy this situation.

It’s evident that this controversial usage of AI is a significant issue that needs further discussion. The entertainment aspect of U.S. politics shouldn’t overshadow the importance of authentic discourse and transparency in campaigning.

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