Deepfakes? In India vote, AI positive for democracy – Asia Times

Deepfakes? In India vote, AI positive for democracy - Asia Times

With over 640 million seats counted on June 5, 2024, spectators in India’s largest vote, which marked the end of the process, as well as what lessons can be learned for the rest of the world.

The efforts made extensive use of AI, including algorithmic imitations of candidates, celebrities and dying politicians. By some quotes, thousands of American citizens viewed deepfakes.

But, despite worries of common propaganda, for the most part the promotions, candidates and activists used AI positively in the vote. They used AI for normal political activities, including politicking, but generally to better interact with citizens.

Deepfakes without the fraud

Democratic parties in India spent an estimated US$ 50 million on authorized AI-generated material for precise connection with their constituencies this election period. And it was generally effective.

American political strategists have used Artificial to boost their communication because they have long understood the influence of character and emotion on their constituents. Young and future Artificial companies like The Indian Deepfaker, which began out serving the pleasure sector, immediately responded to this growing need for AI-generated promotion material.

In January, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, who was chief minister of the southwestern state of Tamil Nadu for two years, appeared via video at his party’s children aircraft event. He wore his signature yellow robe, white sweater, dark glasses and had his familiar attitude – nose slightly bent backward. Karunanidhi passed away in 2018, though. His party authorized the deepfake. A dead politician was introduced into the Indian election campaign by fake technology.

In February, the All- India Anna Dravidian Progressive Federation party’s official X account posted an audio clip of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, the iconic superstar of Tamil politics colloquially called” Amma” or” Mother”. Jayalalithaa passed away in 2016

Meanwhile, local representatives called voters to discuss local issues, but the voice on the other end of the phone was an AI impersonator. Shakti Singh Rathore, a member of the Bhhartiya Janta Party ( BJP), has been a frequenter of AI startups, sending personalized videos to specific voters about the government benefits they received and asking for their support over WhatsApp.

Multilingual boost

AI was present in the Indian elections in other ways than just deepfakes. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a crowd of a large number of people eager to celebrate the connections between the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of India and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh’s northern state. As his Hindi speech was actually translated into Tamil, Modi proudly announced the launch of his “new AI technology” by requiring his audience to wear earphones.

The BJP used AI tools to make Modi’s personality accessible to voters in areas where Hindi is difficult to understand in a nation with 22 official languages and almost 780 unofficially recorded languages. Since 2022, Modi and his BJP have been using the AI- powered tool Bhashini, embedded in the NaMo mobile app, to translate Modi’s speeches with voiceovers in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Bengali, Marathi and Punjabi.

Some AI companies distributed their own viral versions of Modi’s well-known monthly radio show” Mann Ki Baat,” loosely translated” From the Heart,” which they voice-cloned to regional languages as part of their demos.

Adversarial uses

Indian political parties used AI to bolster their ongoing meme battles, and they doubled down on online trolling. The Indian National Congress uploaded a short clip to its 6 million Instagram followers early in the election season, using the song’s title from a brand-new Hindi music album called” Chor” ( thief ). Modi’s voice was copied by the video, which placed his digital likeness on the lead singer and reworked his lyrics to criticize his close ties to Indian business tycoons.

On its 7 million-follower Instagram account, the BJP launched a counter-retaliation video featuring a supercut of Modi campaigning on the streets, mixed with supporters ‘ clips, and played to unique music. It was a well-known singer Mahendra Kapoor‘s old patriotic Hindi song that was sung by him but was revived using artificial voice cloning. Kapoor passed away in 2008 and is now 84.

A common meme that alters footage of rapper Lil Yachty on stage, Modi himself tweeted an AI-created video of him dancing. Such inventiveness in the peak poll season is truly a delight, he said.

In some cases, generative AI tools were used to convey the violent rhetoric used in Modi’s campaign, which put Muslims at risk and stoked violence. However, the harm can be attributed to the offensive rhetoric itself, not necessarily the AI tools used to spread it.

The Indian experience

India is a first-time adopter, and its experiments with artificial intelligence serve as an example of what the rest of the world can anticipate from upcoming elections. Making it harder to tell the truth from fiction is made more accessible by technology’s ability to produce nonconsensual deepfakes of anyone, but its consensual applications are likely to increase that sameness.

The use of AI in participatory democracy that began with entertainment, political meme wars, emotional appeals to people, resurrected politicians, and persuasion through personalized phone calls to voters has opened a door for the role of AI in participatory democracy.

The BJP’s failure to win the anticipated parliamentary majority and India’s return to a highly competitive political system, among other things, highlights the potential for AI to play a positive role in deliberative democracy and representative governance.

Lessons for the world’s democracies

Any political party or candidate wants to have more specific conversations with their constituents, which is a priority in a democracy. In an unprecedented attempt to make their messages more accessible, especially to rural, low-income voters, by using AI for more individualized communication across linguistic and ethnically diverse constituencies.

Voters can communicate their demands and experiences directly with their representatives, and this could be done through AI and the development of participatory democracy, which would enable personalized communication as well as dialogue.

India can serve as an example of extending AI-aided party-to-people communications beyond politics with its recent proficiency. These platforms are already being used by the government to offer citizens in their native tongues government services.

This technology could provide a new era of representative governance, especially given the demands and experiences of rural residents.

Vandinika Shukla is a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Practicing Democracy Project, and Bruce Schneier is a visiting adjunct professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

This article was republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.