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US, voter trust at risk from artificial intelligence

2024-04-24 19:36:49, Kosova & Bota CNA

US, voter trust at risk from artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is present in all of American political life, from fundraising to campaign advertising. Some lawmakers are pushing for stronger rules on the use of artificial intelligence during this year's presidential election. As Voice of America correspondent Scott Stearns reports, some lawmakers believe that artificial intelligence jeopardizes voters' trust in the materials presented to them.

Until now, artificial intelligence in the US presidential election campaign came to the fore in the New Hampshire primary, where thousands of voters received calls from a voice that sounded like the voice of President Joe Biden, telling them not to vote.

"Voting this Tuesday only allows the Republicans to re-elect Donald Trump ," said the fake voice during the call.

The voice was produced by Louisiana magician Paul Carpenter for a fee of just $150.

"If there's a need for that kind of game, I can provide it ," says Mr. Carpenter.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says we shouldn't wait until this happens again.

"Disinformation and false material will soon have an impact on the American public. It will be in the form of political ads and other forms of disinformation that are powered by artificial intelligence. It poses a clear danger to our democracy ," said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

During a hearing on artificial intelligence, Senator Josh Hawley said the time has come to act.

"The dangers of this technology without a regulatory framework are becoming very apparent. I think the question now is whether we will see a catastrophe ," he said.

It's now possible to spot calls like the one in New Hampshire, says artificial voice programmer Zohaib Ahmed.

"We think that placing signs on the materials where artificial intelligence has been used is a ready-made solution and we can check the content of the sound materials from now on ," said Mr. Ahmed.

But while the technology exists, what's missing is the regulatory framework, says counterfeit-tracking expert Ben Colman.

"There is a good base at the national and state level. When you enter something e.g. on YouTube, it's checked for a few things. Checked for violence. Checked for images that may be inappropriate for minors. Or if I'm using Drake's latest song? This is done because of the rules. So to check materials for content produced by artificial intelligence, it would just be another check along this process ," said Mr. Colman.

The US Elections Commission is considering establishing rules that would prohibit the use of artificial intelligence to deceive voters.

New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan told the Senate that the use of fake AI-generated material, such as the phone call imitating President Biden's voice, jeopardizes voter confidence.

"The most essential aspect of my role as secretary of state is to make sure that the elections are not disrupted, that people have confidence and know that they were held honestly and accurately, to the highest possible standards. And if we lose that, it's going to be very, very difficult to get it back ," Mr. Scanlan said.

In New Hampshire, lawmakers are working on legislation that would require political ads 90 days before an election to disclose whether the audio, photos or videos "have been manipulated or produced with artificial intelligence technology and if they feature articulation or behavior that does not has ever happened"./ VOA

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