WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A consumer advocacy is raising concerns that advanced artificial intelligence tools used to create “deepfake” versions of politicians could affect the 2024 presidential election.
Deepfakes are digitally altered images. They’ve already been used to dupe high-profile politicians like former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“Fake videos, fake audio clips … that look real, convincingly real,” Robert Weissman of progressive think tank Public Citizen explained deepfakes.
Public Citizen is calling for deepfakes to be banned in campaign ads. Last week, the Federal Election Commission agreed to consider it. It will take public comment for 60 days before making a decision.
“The technology is at a high enough quality that we’re going to see political deepfakes that will fool people, that may fool everyone and that could turn an election,” Weissman said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican running for president, and the Republican National Committee have already dabbled with the use of deepfakes in ads.
“It is imperative that there’s action now,” Weissman said.
Public Citizen is also pushing Congress to ban outside political groups, like political action committees, from creating deepfakes.
But Cayce Myers, a Virginia Tech professor, said it may be impossible to contain deepfake technology.
“We can regulate disinformation as best we can … but it doesn’t mean we’re still not going to see that pop up into the larger communication dialogue,” Myers said.
And he said an outright ban may be unconstitutional.
“A ban on speech can create stifling of legitimate speech,” he said.