AI able to manipulate elections worldwide, expert says

Social media plays front and center role in politics in 21st century, especially in 2024, notes John Allen Hendricks

Anadolu Agency May 21, 2024
AI could manipulate worldwide elections, says expert. Photo:


Artificial intelligence (AI) is able to manipulate elections all around the world, said the chairman of the Department of Mass Communication at US-based Stephen F. Austin University, noting that as it relates to politics and preserving democracy, it is very important that some regulations are introduced.

The world is in the very early stages of that technology and a lot of mistakes are going to be made in utilizing it, John Allen Hendricks told Anadolu at a conference titled Future(s) of Communications: Promises and Predicaments organized last week by the Global Communication Association (GCA).

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There have been numerous videos in the US but also in other countries showing politicians saying things that the electorate perceives as sincere but which are actually deepfake videos, he stressed.

People should be very careful about AI in the political context because it is so new and very believable, he stressed.

So it is important that politicians and governments consider regulating to a certain extent social media, he added.

Social media plays a front and center role in politics in the 21st century, especially in 2024, he said.

"When I look at American politics, social media is the first place that politicians go to reach the electorate," he noted.

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Traditional legacy media in America -- television, radio and newspapers - are gatekeepers and frame messaging for the electorate, he stressed.

But the electorate has become very leery toward traditional media, and so they are turning to social media, which allows politicians to communicate directly to them without having to go through elite journalists, he added.

"The impact of social media in the 21st century is its immediacy," Hendricks said, noting that everyone accesses those media outlets in their homes.

People on social media talk about the things they already believe in and so they just sort of perpetuate what is being said, he asserted.

"And so there is almost a community of people who all believe the same things to continue discussing those same things, in turn in those same ideas and things, whether they are correct or not," he said.

There is a problem with social media and there is no regulation of it in the US, he said.

"So anyone can create a social media account under a false name. They can create a fake name, and that encourages and emboldens them to say things that they would never say as themselves."


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