White House communications secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that the call “was indeed fake and not recorded by the president.” Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden's campaign manager, said the team is “actively discussing additional actions to take immediately.”
“Spreading disinformation to suppress voting and deliberately undermine free and fair elections will not stand, and fighting back against any attempt to undermine our democracy will continue to be a top priority for this campaign,” she added.
This apparent voter suppression utilizing fast expanding generative AI technology is one example of what experts predict will be a year of extraordinary election misinformation worldwide in 2024. From Slovakia to Indonesia and Taiwan, generative AI deepfakes have been utilized in campaign commercials for the 2024 presidential election and to disseminate disinformation in other elections.
“We have been concerned that generative AI would be weaponized in the upcoming election and we are seeing what is surely a sign of things to come,” said Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert at UC Berkeley, who reviewed the call recording and confirmed it is a low-quality AI fake.
AI technology evolves, but the federal government is still struggling to confront it. Despite bipartisan support, Congress has not passed legislation to restrict the industry's political involvement. The Federal Election Commission is considering public comments on a proposal to restrict AI deepfakes in campaign commercials.
Despite the recent use of generative AI to influence elections, “robocalls and dirty tricks go back a long ways,” according to David Becker, the Center for Election Innovation and Research's director.
He said it's unclear if the New Hampshire calls were meant to discourage voting or “continue the process of getting Americans to untether themselves from fact and truth regarding our democracy.” He stated, “They don’t need to convince us that what they’re saying, the lies they’re telling, are true. “They just need to convince us that there is no truth, that you can’t believe anything.”
Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who is opposing Biden in the Democratic primary, was not engaged in the deepfake attempt, according to his campaign spokesperson, Katie Dolan. A reporter contacted to inquire about it.
Any effort to discourage voters is disgraceful and an unacceptable affront to democracy,” Dolan added. “The potential use of AI to manipulate voters is shocking.” The Trump team denied involvement in the tape but declined to comment.