April 12, 2024

Ban AI Photos in Politics?

The image on the right is not real. You could be forgiven for thinking that it is, that these two people were in a location like this and had their photograph taken, but it’s all just a mirage. You can see the prompt used by the AI engine as part of the caption below. They never existed.

This is what we’re up against in this election– something we’ve never seen before, and Team DeSantis 2024 is the first to get called out on it. In an attempt to try to tie former President Trump to Fauci and to say that Gov. DeSantis handled COVID-19 better, Team DeSantis released campaign materials that used AI to put Trump and Fauci together in an embrace. You can see the photos that were posted and the response here.

The images were included in a video posted Monday that first shows Trump as host of the reality TV show “The Apprentice” firing people and then pivots to sound bites of Trump praising Fauci and explaining why he could not fire the former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. At one point, the audio is laid over pictures of Trump and Fauci, including several of the two men appearing to embrace. The words “Real Life Trump” are transposed over the images.

Some of the images, however, carry the hallmarks of AI-generated content. None of those pictures yielded a match through a Google reverse image search. In one picture, purportedly of Trump and Fauci clutching one another in the White House briefing room, the lettering on the wall is jumbled, a sign that the image was created using an AI program. Trump and Fauci also look somewhat cartoonish in those pictures.

DeSantis campaign posts fake images of Trump hugging Fauci in social media video

We are seeing the dawn of the AI world, where magicians, movies, politicians, and what we read are all fake, generated by learning algorithms instead of people. And while some photos and video can be detected as fake, these things are only going to get better.

The question is, what are we going to do about it? The time is now to start debating how we will allow this technology to be used and to shape us, and what we will do for those that violate the rules. Because many people will be swayed by what the see, and trust of people on the Internet is just going to get worse.

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