Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly making headlines, thanks to advancements in technologies such as large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and synthetic media like AI-generated images, audio, and video. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we work and communicate, with AI-powered tools that can automate tasks, generate content, and even mimic human behavior.
We’ve already seen media coverage about the potential risks from AI related to disinformation and manipulated media. But it’s important to note that these concerns are largely overblown compared to the more benign applications of AI.
We’ve been using artificial intelligence in campaigns for years – specifically the branch known as machine learning [ML] – to model voter data and optimize digital ads on platforms like Facebook. But the latest advancements, commonly referred to as generative AI, have brought the subject to the forefront.
So what do political campaigners need to know about AI and how will it impact upcoming elections?
It’s important to look past the hype because nothing has changed about the fundamentals of running and winning campaigns: earning votes, raising money, getting attention, and upsetting your opponent.
What Is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a large language model [LLM] developed by OpenAI, which uses deep learning algorithms to generate human-like text in response to prompts. Many other companies are developing their own AI chat agents and these services are being incorporated into other platforms.
How Is ChatGPT Being Used In Politics?
Some campaign operatives are using ChatGPT to help draft press releases, briefings, email, social media copy, and similar writing projects. With very little input, a coherent first draft can be generated in just a matter of seconds. Some companies are incorporating these AI features into their own products. Peer to peer (P2P) texting platform RumbleUp recently announced an AI that helps customers write text messages.
What About Fake Videos, Images, And Audio?
We’ve also seen campaigns begin to use this type of AI technology (sometimes called “deepfake”) to create ads and, so far, they’ve been clearly labeled as such. It’s getting easier and easier to create these types of synthetic media and campaigns should be aware that opponents and bad actors could use deepfakes to sow chaos.
The most reliable antidote is to provide a stream of factual information from day one so supporters have a place to turn if issues do arise.
Does My Campaign Need AI?
Maybe. If tools like ChatGPT can be helpful in speeding up your current tasks, you should absolutely be using them, but there’s no need – yet – to change your campaign strategy.