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The impact of generative AI in a global election year
Brookings
2024.02.29
The influence of the online ecosystem in shaping democratic discourse is well-documented, with the expanded reach of generative artificial intelligence (AI) representing a novel challenge in a historic election year. Generative AI enables the creation of realistic images, videos, audio, or text based on user-provided prompts. Given the potential exploitation of this technology, particularly in the context of elections, it has garnered significant attention.
The transformative impact of generative AI on the information space has not matched these initial expectations. However, instances of manipulated or wholly generated content have surfaced, posing a threat to democratic discourse and electoral integrity. Addressing this challenge requires a multifaceted response.
Interventions ranging from legislative measures targeting election-specific deepfakes to voter education initiatives are imperative. Tech companies should also play a central role, including through the implementation of imperfect technical solutions to identify the origins of generated media. While these interventions may not eliminate the challenges posed by generative AI, they represent progress toward managing a complex issue during a critical election year.