EXCLUSIVE BY KEVSER ERBAY — The political arena, often characterized by its intricate strategies and passionate discourses, is undergoing a significant transformation.
Recent developments, highlighted by security technologist Bruce Schneier, underscore the dual nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in politics: a tool for democratization and a potential instrument for deception.
In Pakistan, the voice clone of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, delivering a speech while imprisoned, marked a groundbreaking use of AI in politics. Meanwhile, in the United States, AI-powered robocallers like Ashley are reshaping campaign strategies. These instances aren't mere technological marvels but signify a profound shift in the political landscape. Schneier aptly notes that the involvement of AI in politics will "both help and hurt."
On the brighter side, AI democratizes political participation. Traditionally, political strategies have been the domain of experts, often inaccessible to the grassroots candidates due to financial constraints. AI levels this playing field, enabling local candidates to engage in sophisticated campaigning without the hefty price tag of a human consultant. This democratization of political tools could lead to a more inclusive political discourse, where voices, otherwise marginalized, can make themselves heard.
However, the very technology that empowers can also deceive. The incident involving the AI voice clone of U.S. President Joe Biden, discouraging voters, is a stark reminder of the potential misuse of AI. Schneier's concerns about "demagoguery" and the lack of accountability in AI-driven political communication are not unfounded. The risk of misinformation, manipulation, and erosion of public trust looms large in this new era of AI-politics.
Furthermore, the regulatory response to this rapid technological advancement seems sluggish. Schneier's observation that "regulation is not keeping pace with technology" is particularly troubling. The E.U.'s AI Act, despite being a significant step, faces the risk of obsolescence even before its implementation, given the rapid evolution of AI technologies.
In conclusion, while AI presents an opportunity to democratize political engagement and streamline campaign strategies, it also introduces unprecedented challenges. The potential for misinformation and manipulation necessitates a robust and agile regulatory framework. The political domain must tread this new terrain with caution, ensuring that the marvels of technology serve to enhance democratic values rather than undermine them. As we embrace the potential of AI, let's not overlook the imperative for accountability, transparency, and ethical considerations in this digital age of politics.