NEWSLETTER: AI in Political Campaigns? Proceed with Caution.

June 30, 2023

Mike Biundo: AI in Political Campaigns? Proceed with Caution.

I am old enough to remember when the computer was a rarity in the campaign office. I remember faxing press releases. I remember the moment I was handed my first pager and campaign cell phone. (I also remember the first time I threw them out the window to avoid talking to headquarters.) I took part and was a driver in implementing the first Facebook adaptation in our campaign offices in 2010. In 2013, our company was one of the top sellers of what was at the time groundbreaking VOIP phone technology (which later was replaced with cell phone apps). I am fortunate to have been on the cutting edge of so many changes in cultivating and communicating with voters in our industry. I am proud of how our company has become a leading implementer of technology and advances.

Fast forward to today, though, and we currently find ourselves trying to understand how AI can and should be implemented in our industry. The debate is different from the implementation discussions of the past. This technology is adaptive and can replicate the human tone and fabricate scenarios that never existed. The imagery and audio of people saying things they never said and placed in scenarios that never happened are already coming out of production and being put into play across the political playing field.

I am not saying we need to slam on the brakes, but we need to proceed cautiously. We are at the moment when the voters, our target audience, not only don’t trust the politicians and political aspirants we represent, but they also distrust the very organizations and branches of government we rely on for the Republic we are. If not used correctly, AI could push us further down a path of voter apathy, disdain, and distrust. As political consultants, we are responsible for implementing new technology, but we also have an obligation to use it wisely and ethically. AI can be another in a line of advancements I have had the opportunity to participate in and witness. It just needs to be done in a way we all can be proud of.

Adobe Firefly’s AI Beta text to image generator when prompted “Republican politician speaking to a crowd of supporters in Washington DC.”

Stay Informed – AI in the News:

How AI will transform the 2024 elections (Brookings)
AI gets political: How do we keep fake news out of campaign ads? (The Hill)
AI-generated text is hard to spot. It could play a big role in the 2024 campaign (npr)
AI-driven political ads are here. This lawmaker is sounding the alarm. (The Washington Post)
Fakery and confusion: Campaigns brace for explosion of AI in 2024 (Politico)

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