AI experts sound tech alarm ahead of 2024 election: ‘We’re not prepared for it’

AI experts and tech-savvy political scientists are sounding the alarm about the unregulated use of AI tools at the start of an election season.

Not only can Generative AI quickly create targeted campaign emails, text or videos, but could also be used to mislead voters into impersonating candidates and elections at an unprecedented scale and speed to undermine.

Misinformation about voting by artificial intelligence

A booth stands ready for a voter at City Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the first morning of early voting in the state on February 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

“We’re not prepared for this,” warned AJ Nash, vice president of intelligence at cybersecurity firm ZeroFox. “For me, the big step forward is in the audio and video capabilities that have emerged. If you can do that at scale and share it on social platforms, it will have a big impact.”

Among AI’s many capabilities, here are some that will have a significant impact on elections and voting: automated robocall messages using a candidate’s voice, instructing voters to cast their ballot on the wrong date; Audio recordings of a candidate allegedly confessing to a crime or expressing racist views; Video footage showing someone giving a speech or interview they never gave.

Fake images designed to look like local news reports falsely claiming a contestant has dropped out of the race.


“What if Elon Musk called you personally and told you to vote for a certain candidate?” said Oren Etzioni, the founding CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, who resigned last year to found the nonprofit AI2. “A lot of people would listen. But he’s not.”

Petko Stoyanov, global chief technology officer at Forcepoint, a cybersecurity firm based in Austin, Texas, has predicted that groups looking to meddle with US democracy will use AI and synthetic media to erode trust.

“What happens when an international entity – a cybercriminal or a nation state – impersonates someone? What are the effects? Do we have any recourse?” said Stoyanov. “We’re going to see a lot more misinformation coming from international sources.”

AI-generated political disinformation has already gone viral across the internet in the run-up to the 2024 election, from a manipulated video of what appears to be Biden delivering a speech attacking transgender people to AI-generated images of children allegedly speaking learn Satanism in libraries.

Milken Institute

Panelists speak about artificial intelligence at the Milken Institute Global Conference. (Milken Institute)

AI images that appeared to show Trump’s mugshot also fooled some social media users, although the former president did not do one when he was charged and charged with falsifying business records in a Manhattan criminal court. Other AI-generated images showed Trump resisting arrest, though her creator was quick to acknowledge her origins.

Rep. Yvette Clarke, DN.Y., introduced legislation that would require candidates to flag campaign ads created with AI. Clark has also backed a law requiring anyone creating synthetic images to add a watermark indicating the fact.

Some states have come up with their own proposals to address deepfake concerns.

Clarke said her biggest fear is that ahead of the 2024 election, generative AI could be used to create a video or audio that incites violence and turns Americans against one another.


“It’s important that we keep up with technology,” Clarke told The Associated Press. “We have to set up some guidelines. People can be fooled, and it only takes a split second. People are busy with their lives and don’t have the time to check every piece of information. If AI is used as a weapon, it could be extremely disruptive at a political stage.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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