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AI and the 2024 United States Election: It’s ‘We The People,’ Not AI We Need to Worry About

AI and the 2024 United States Election: It’s ‘We The People,’ Not AI We Need to Worry About

By: Daniel W. Rasmus for Serious Insights

Just after I finished my talk on AI and the 2024 U.S. Elections at the TechTalk Summits Impact event in St. Petersburg, Florida, I walked back to my room and flipped on the television to CNN, where Jake Tapper was about to discuss AI and the 2024 election (transcript here). The recent President Biden robocall deep fake urging Democratic voters to sit out the New Hampshire primary brought the potential threats of widespread AI-generated misinformation to the forefront (see Fake Joe Biden robocall tells New Hampshire Democrats not to vote Tuesday from NBC News). AI has become its own topic in the 2024 election cycle.

The worry is that AI will sow doubt, misrepresent the truth, and tilt the election outcome. Consensus, however, suggests that misinformation will not significantly impact the presidential election. Most people have already decided who they plan to vote for—and most people click on legitimately reported sources that offer fact-checked sources. However, AI-generated misinformation from the 2024 election and other sources of fraudulent facts may change people’s perceptions and practices regarding information over time. 

Well-crafted misinformation will make truth harder to identify, creating the need for increased diligence among the electorate to verify sources and fact-check assertions. It is unclear how Americans will react. A 2023 Pew study found that 65% of Americans often feel exhausted when thinking about politics. No AI productivity promise is likely to eliminate politics as a source of stress.

The CNN story covered two points I made in my TechTalk Summits closing keynote on AI and the 2024 Elections: 

  • Misdirection on campaigns isn’t new; it’s just using new tools.
  • News coverage will make AI a more important issue to election choices than it will actually turn out to be.

False information about elections is nothing new. Mailers that offer misleading candidate endorsements have existed for a long time. Misrepresentations of voting records and other information about candidates are also common.

But on the Internet, most people seek information from legitimate sources. A 2021 study from Brooking’s NYU Center on Social Media and Politics found that 89% of news URLs viewed on Facebook were from credible sources.

While AI will increase the scale of misrepresentation, it will not necessarily escalate the consumption of misinformation. More people, however, many of them with few of the resources associated with a traditional political campaign, will be able to generate misinformation and spread it quickly using AI and social media tools. Further, the rise of AI may improve the perceived “quality” of the misrepresentation, meaning that it may make it appear more authentic.

We will not know until after the election if emergent sources of misinformation drove engagement or changed people’s minds…

To learn more about the impacts of AI on the 2024 Election, check out: AI and the 2024 United States Election: It’s ‘We The People,’ Not AI We Need to Worry About


About the author:

Daniel W. Rasmus, the author of Listening to the Future, is a strategist and industry analyst who has helped clients put their future in context. Rasmus uses scenarios to analyze trends in society, technology, economics, the environment, and politics to discover implications used to develop and refine products, services, and experiences. He leverages this work and methodology for content development, workshops, and for professional development.

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