Who knew we’d be hearing the voice of former President Donald Trump in a political ad for Ron DeSantis, the GOP presidential candidate from Florida? That’s right! In a recent twist, a super PAC backing DeSantis has used AI technology to reproduce Trump’s distinctive voice in a campaign ad against him.
The ad was orchestrated by Never Back Down, a super PAC that’s all in for DeSantis. The voice in question strikingly resembles Trump’s – though an observant listener will quickly pick up on the somewhat disjointed and robotic quality, the telltale signs of an AI voice.
Is this the future of political campaigning? Well, the use of AI to produce the Trump mimic certainly raises eyebrows, suggesting that this is a path many political groups might take during the forthcoming primaries and general election campaign.
This AI-powered version of Trump doesn’t just produce gibberish. It reproduces a statement that Trump made on his social media platform, Truth Social, where he criticized Kim Reynolds, the Republican Governor of Iowa who’s opted to remain neutral in the GOP primaries.
The ad features AI-Trump saying, “I opened up the governor position for Kim Reynolds, and when she fell behind, I endorsed her, did big rallies, and she won! Now, she wants to remain neutral. I don’t invite her to events.”
The narrator in the ad then criticizes Trump for targeting his own party members, stating, “Trump should fight Democrats, not Republicans.”
However, Trump’s campaign didn’t take this AI imitation lightly. A spokesperson suggested that DeSantis’ camp is resorting to AI because the candidate is floundering in the polls and losing donors.
Yet, Trump’s own campaign history tells a different story. Back in May, after DeSantis’s shaky campaign rollout, Trump shared an AI-generated video featuring a fabricated version of DeSantis’s voice, making fun of his presidential announcement on Twitter Spaces.
While mimicry and mockery have long been part of political campaigns, the introduction of AI into this sphere raises some serious ethical questions. Concerns are mounting about the potential misuse of such technology in spreading disinformation and undermining political discourse.
As Drake University political science professor Dennis J. Goldford aptly put it, “The increasing use of AI in that area, and we’re just at the beginning, poses a real danger to our political discourse.” Goldford further added that AI-generated voices could be used to manipulate rather than inform the public.
As we watch tech and politics blend in a new way, it’s time we remain vigilant. We need to ensure that while technology advances, it doesn’t leave our democratic principles in the dust.