Use of AI in election campaigns

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Source: This post “Use of AI in election campaigns” is created based on the article, Lok Sabha election’s experiment with AI offers hope for India’s democracy published in Indian Express on 14th June 2024.

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3 – Science and Tech –

Context: The article discusses the how AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology has been integrated into political campaigning and its potential implications for participatory democracy.

In the recently concluded elections, AI technology, including synthetic media, voice clones, AI-generated videos, and personalised messages, was widely used by political parties. These tools were primarily used for targeted communication and trolling opposition parties.

Most AI-generated content was authorized by political parties, which spent an estimated US $50 million on these technologies.

This included AI-generated songs, memes, and automated calls in various Indian languages.

However, in rural areas, the AI impact was minimal. Fact-checking revealed that only four percent of misinformation was AI-generated. Traditional media, such as cartoons and low-tech face swaps, were more prevalent.

How AI can be beneficial for a participative democracy

1) AI could enhance participatory democracy by facilitating more individualized communication between constituents and representatives, making governance more accessible and responsive. For example, in the elections, Party campaign used AI for better communication across linguistically, ideologically, and ethnically diverse constituencies, with messages that were more accessible — especially among rural, low-income or low-literacy areas.

2) AI could transform constituent communication from a one-way service model to a dialogue, enabling voters to share their demands and experiences directly with their representatives.

What more can be done?

Consensual uses of AI should be encouraged for better communication with the voter.

The Indian government is using AI to provide services in local languages, but stronger digital literacy in rural areas is necessary for the universal adoption of these technologies.

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