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AI and Politics: How Will We Know What—and Who—Is Real?

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Illustration depicts a person looking through binoculars; through one lens is another person, through the other is a digital representation of a person.

The gradual introduction of AI-manipulated video and audio in everyday discourse might acclimatize people to it, but not if a large number of people are required to assess the authenticity of a video or audio clip.

Credit: Jarred Briggs

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, in a democracy, being informed grants people agency and having agency gives us a voice. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to challenge both of these critical assumptions embedded for hundreds of years at the heart of our understanding of democracy. What happens when the loudest, or most influential, voice in politics is one created by a computer? And what happens when that computer-made voice also looks and sounds like a human?

If we are lucky, AI-generated or AI-manipulated audio and video will cause only brief moments of isolated confusion in our political sphere. If we are not, there is a risk it could permanently upend politics—and society.

From The Walrus
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