AI and the 2024 Elections

How will AI influence the upcoming elections?

The 2024 U.S. Presidential election is a crucial juncture for our polarized nation. It is also the first presidential election since the rise and widespread use of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence. Now more than ever, (mis)information is widespread and floods the news regularly. The types of information citizens are exposed to will influence their opinions, and therefore their vote. Although artificial intelligence was used moderately for previous elections, the popularity of AI-generated content has exacerbated its importance. AI has already made its mark on the election, influencing both parties’ campaigning strategies and messaging. 

One of generative AI’s biggest advantages is its ability to generate unique content in a short amount of time. The Republican National Convention (RNC) used an AI-generated video picturing a dystopian future in response to Biden’s announcement that he would seek reelection. Such content can be created and disseminated in a matter of hours, bolstering the campaign of those who harness its power. Campaign strategists can generate more and more content since AI is much faster than humans at creating such advertisements. The RNC video did not appear to go through extensive editing either, again highlighting AI’s ease of use.

Another advantage of using AI to construct campaign messaging is its ability to cater to the target audience precisely. According to an April 2023 survey, forty-three percent support the incumbent of President Biden, forty-one percent support the likely Grand Old Party nominee, Donald Trump, and ten percent support another candidate. This leaves the remaining six percent in the category of “swing voters”, the category that decides elections. AI understands how to appeal to a very specific sector of voters, and generates campaign advertisements that do so. These enhanced and refined ads are much more personalized toward voters and thus have a greater chance of securing a valuable swing vote. 

However, it is not just political parties that are using AI to bolster their campaigns. Candidates are using AI to weaken their opponents’ campaigns. For example, the battle in the Republican primaries to determine Biden’s challenger. Though he has since dropped out, one of Governor Ron DeSantis’s political action committees (PACs) released an AI-generated ad that attacked Trump. It featured an artificial voice that impersonates Trump, quoting one of the former president’s social media posts. It then said “Trump should be attacking Democrats, not Republicans.”, a criticism of his tendency to go after his fellow GOP candidates. 

However, AI can also endanger the honesty of the information being spread in the campaigns. Sometimes AI-generated information is inaccurate but elaborately portrayed to sound legitimate. If such misinformation influences voters or falls into the wrong hands, it can affect the election and the nation’s future. It is ultimately the candidates’ responsibility to use the power of AI wisely. 

About the Author

Sadkrith Malladi
Hello! My name is Sadkrith and I am a junior living in 1505. I enjoy playing chess, casual basketball, reading, and of course writing.

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