The GOP infighting continues to rage on as the race for the 2024 presidential bid picks up steam. A super PAC supporting Florida hopeful Ron DeSantis has unleashed a campaign ad that features an AI-generated version of Trump’s voice.
The PAC, called Never Back Down, released the ad in support of Iowa governor Kim Reynolds in a bid to sow division amongst Republican voters in the first caucus state, Politico reports. The ad accuses Trump of “attacking” Reynolds, claiming he endorsed and stood by her, even when she “fell behind.” Trump then says he doesn’t invite her to events after her bid to stay “neutral” in the current presidential race. The ad plays an audio bite of his claims, seemingly taken from a recording of a phone call—but the audio clip is pretty clearly AI-generated, with a bizarre cadence and pauses between sentences that just feel a little too robotic. To the media-illiterate voter, however, the audio could be believable.
A source confirmed to Politico that the audio was AI-generated and the content was based on a post from Trump’s Truth Social. The source also disclosed that the ad will run statewide in Iowa beginning next week and carried a $1 million price tag.
This is not the GOP’s first time dabbling with AI in campaigns. In April, the Republican National Committee released a video, titled “Beat Biden,” on its official YouTube account shortly after Biden announced his re-election campaign for next year’s presidential race. The video uses AI-generated imagery to illustrate just how bad the GOP thinks America could become under Biden’s administration. Selected works include sensationalized images of China invading Taiwan, the economy collapsing, immigrants flocking across America’s borders, and a rising crime and opioid crisis.
While “Trump Attacks Iowa” and “Beat Biden” are hare-brained attempts to drum up support for the GOP, it does point to a growing issue with the AI hype train’s place in politics. Prior to the arrest of Truth Social founder Donald Trump in April, AI-generated images of cops aggressively detaining him began to spread across the Internet. If you looked closely enough, it was clear that the images were fake, since they have that signature soft, air-brushed quality so much AI imagery has. However, it’s not a stretch to think that an untrained eye could believe that these images are real, especially in the emotional anticipation of a former president being arrested.
Shortly after the Trump arrest hoax photos went viral, the platform used to generate those images, Midjourney, halted free trials citing “extraordinary demand and trial abuse.” Midjourney told Gizmodo at the time that shutting off access to the generator had nothing to do with the arrest photos—or the simultaneous photos of the Pope rocking Balenciaga—but was instead a result of people making throwaway accounts to abuse the free trial. Regardless, the “Trump Attacks Iowa,” “Beat Biden,” Trump arrest, and hypebeast Pope incidents illustrate a clear need for AI generators to do something to signal what’s real and what’s not—especially if the upcoming 2024 election will be as contentious as 2020 and 2016.