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How AI is Changing Elections in 2024? What You Need to Know

Updated: May 14



The 2024 elections are set to be influenced heavily by digital technology, particularly artificial intelligence, or AI. This technology is now a big part of how elections are run, from registering voters to counting votes. But it also brings new challenges, like the spread of false information. In this blog, we’ll explore how AI is being used in elections, the problems it’s creating, and what steps are being taken to ensure elections remain fair and truthful.


Table of Contents

  • Understanding AI’s Role in Elections

  • The Problem with AI-generated Content

  • Tech Companies Step Up

  • Governments and the EU Take Action

  • Challenges Ahead

  • Expectations for the 2024 Elections


Understanding AI’s Role in Elections

Artificial intelligence has been part of the election process for a few years, helping to streamline operations from voter registration to the actual voting process. However, its role has expanded significantly since 2023 with the rise of generative AI. This type of AI can create realistic audio, texts, and videos quickly. While it has many positive uses, it can also be misused to quickly create and spread false information.


The Problem with AI-generated Content

The biggest issue with AI in elections is how easy it has become to create fake but very real-looking news and media. These can unfairly influence people’s opinions and interfere with the democratic process. For example, videos that look real but are completely fabricated can spread widely on social media, misleading voters about a candidate’s words or actions.


Tech Companies Step Up

In response to these challenges, major tech companies like Google, Meta, and TikTok, as well as AI developers like OpenAI and Microsoft, have started to fight back against the misuse of AI. They’ve pledged to develop better ways to spot fake content and to educate the public on how to spot this misinformation.


Some specific initiatives include:

  • TikTok is making election information available in local languages within the EU to combat misinformation.

  • Google is working with fact-checking groups to create databases that verify the accuracy of information shared online.

  • Meta is setting up a special team to monitor election-related content in real time to prevent the spread of false information.


Governments and the EU Take Action

The European Union is at the forefront of setting laws and guidelines to manage the challenges posed by digital technologies in elections. The EU has enacted the Digital Services Act, which requires platforms to actively monitor and mitigate the spread of fake content. Looking toward the 2024 elections, the EU has issued additional guidelines that encourage online platforms to work closely with governments and civil organizations to keep elections fair.


Challenges Ahead

While these measures are a step in the right direction, some groups argue that tech companies need to do more. Over 200 advocacy groups have called on these corporations to take stronger actions against AI-driven misinformation. They argue that while tech companies have started to address the problem, the measures taken are not strong enough or widespread enough to truly protect elections from digital threats.


Expectations for the 2024 Elections

The upcoming elections will serve as a crucial test for both tech companies and regulatory bodies like the EU. They will show whether the current efforts to manage digital influence in elections are effective. These efforts aim to ensure that voters receive accurate information and that the democratic process is respected.



Conclusion

The influence of AI and digital technology on the democratic process is profound and continues to grow. As we move towards major elections in 2024, the responsibility of tech companies and lawmakers is immense. They must work together to uphold democratic values and ensure that the electoral process is transparent and fair.


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