How artificial intelligence will affect the elections of 2024

ai election
ai election

Disinformation will become easier to produce, but it matters less than you might think

Politics is supposed to be about persuasion; but it has always been stalked by propaganda. Campaigners dissemble, exaggerate and fib. They transmit lies, ranging from bald-faced to white, through whatever means are available. Anti-vaccine conspiracies were once propagated through pamphlets instead of podcasts. A century before covid-19, anti-maskers in the era of Spanish flu waged a disinformation campaign. They sent fake messages from the surgeon-general via telegram (the wires, not the smartphone app). Because people are not angels, elections have never been free from falsehoods and mistaken beliefs.

But as the world contemplates a series of votes in 2024, something new is causing a lot of worry. In the past, disinformation has always been created by humans. Advances in generative artificial intelligence (ai)—with models that can spit out sophisticated essays and create realistic images from text prompts—make synthetic propaganda possible. The fear is that disinformation campaigns may be supercharged in 2024, just as countries with a collective population of some 4bn—including America, Britain, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Taiwan—prepare to vote. How worried should their citizens be?