In a shocking turn of events, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has been accused of using artificial intelligence-generated images in a smear campaign against his rival, former President Donald Trump. The incident highlights the growing trend of AI-generated deep fakes being used in advertising and political movements.
The DeSantis campaign recently tweeted a video showing the close relationship between Trump and Anthony Fauci, the former president’s chief medical adviser. Fauci has become a controversial figure within GOP circles for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The video features a combination of real-life and what appear to be AI-generated images showing Trump and Fauci embracing, with some even depicting Trump kissing Fauci.
Twitter’s Community Notes feature, which aims to combat misinformation, added a disclaimer to the tweet, labeling the image “generated by AI”. AFP Fact Check, a department of Agence France-Presse, also identified the images as having characteristics of AI-generated images.
DeSantis and Trump are currently vying for the Republican presidential nomination. DeSantis, the pro-Bitcoin candidate, launched his campaign last month and has stated his commitment to protecting the cryptocurrency. However, recent opinion polls show him lagging behind Trump.
It should be noted that both sides of the political spectrum have used AI-generated media to attack their opponents. The Trump campaign, for example, used AI to create a fake Twitter Space featuring DeSantis, Elon Musk, George Soros, Adolf Hitler, Satan, and Trump himself in a video mocking DeSantis’ announcement of his presidential bid.
In another example, Republicans released an advert in April envisioning a dystopian future under President Joe Biden’s second term. The ad prominently features an AI-generated image to illustrate this bleak scenario.
The use of AI-generated media is not limited to the United States. New Zealand’s National Party, in an attempt to criticize the ruling Labor Party, is using AI-generated images in various social media posts. These images depict Polynesian hospital staff, masked men robbing a jewelery shop, and a woman in a house at night.
The prevalence of AI-generated media in politics raises concerns about the potential for misinformation and manipulation. This underscores the need for critical evaluation and fact checking when consuming political content in an increasingly digital era.