Is Argentina AI’s first choice? | ET REALITY


He posters The streets of Buenos Aires had a certain Soviet air.

There stood one of Argentina’s presidential candidates, Sergio Massa, dressed in a shirt with what appeared to be military medals, pointing toward a blue sky. He was surrounded by hundreds of old people, drably dressed, with serious and often disfigured faces, who looked towards him with hope.

The style was not a mistake. The illustrator had been given clear instructions.

“Illustration of Gustav Klutsis’s Soviet political propaganda poster showing a leader, Massa, standing firmly,” read an indication that Massa’s campaign incorporated into an artificial intelligence program to produce the image. “Symbols of unity and power fill the atmosphere,” the message continued. “The image exudes authority and determination.”

Javier Milei, the other candidate in Sunday’s second round of elections, counterattacked by sharing what appear to be artificial intelligence images showing Massa as a chinese communist leader and himself as plush cartoon lion. They have been viewed more than 30 million times.

Argentina’s elections have quickly become a testing ground for AI in campaigning, with the two candidates and their supporters using the technology to modify existing images and videos and create new ones from scratch.

AI has made candidates say things they didn’t say and put them in famous movies and memes. It has created campaign posters and sparked debates about whether the actual videos are actually real.

AI’s prominent role in Argentina’s campaign and the political debate it has sparked underscore the growing prevalence of the technology and show that, with its growing power and falling cost, it is now likely to be a factor in many elections. democratic throughout the world.

Experts compare the moment to the early days of social media, a technology that offers tantalizing new tools for politics…and unforeseen threats.

Massa’s campaign has created an artificial intelligence system that can create images and videos of many of the election’s key players (the candidates, running mates, political allies) doing a wide variety of things.

The campaign has used AI to portray Massa, Argentina’s no-nonsense center-left economy minister, as strong, fearless and charismatic, including videos showing him as a soldier in warto Ghostbusters and Indiana Jonesas well as posters that evoke Barack Obama’s 2008. Poster “Hope” and a cover of The New Yorker.

The campaign has also used the system to portray his opponent, Milei, a far-right libertarian economist and television personality known for his outbursts, as unstable, casting him in films such as “Mechanical orange” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Much of the content has been clearly false. But some creations have followed the line of misinformation. The Massa campaign produced a “deepfake” video in which Milei explains how a market for human organs would worksomething he has said philosophically fits his libertarian views.

“Imagine having children and thinking that each one of them is a long-term investment. Not in the traditional sense, but thinking about the economic potential of their organs,” says the manipulated image of Milei in the manufactured videopublished by the Massa campaign on its Instagram account for AI content, called “AI for the Homeland.”

The title of the publication says: “We asked an Artificial Intelligence to help Javier explain the business of selling organs and this happened.”

In an interview, Massa said he was surprised when he first saw what AI could do. “I didn’t have my mind prepared for the world I’m going to live in,” she said. “It is a great challenge. “We are on a horse that we have to ride but we still don’t know its tricks.”

The New York Times then showed him the deepfake his campaign created of Mr. Milei and human organs. He seemed disturbed. “I don’t agree with that use,” he said.

His spokesperson later emphasized that the post was a joke and was clearly labeled as AI-generated. His campaign said in a statement that it uses AI to entertain and make political points, not to deceive.

Researchers have long been concerned about the impact of AI on elections. Technology can mislead and confuse voters, casting doubt on what is real and contributing to misinformation that can spread through social media.

For years, those fears had been largely speculative because the technology to produce such fakes was too complicated, expensive and unsophisticated.

“We’ve now seen this absolute explosion of incredibly accessible and increasingly powerful democratized toolsets, and that calculus has changed radically,” said Henry Ajder, an England-based expert who has advised governments on AI-generated content.

This year, a Toronto mayoral candidate used grim AI-generated images of homeless people to convey what Toronto would become if he were not elected. In the United States, the Republican Party released an artificial intelligence video showing China invading Taiwan and other dystopian scenes to depict what it says would happen if President Biden wins a second term.

And the campaign of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida shared a video showing artificial intelligence-generated images of Donald J. Trump hugging Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who has become an enemy of the American right for his role leading the national response to the pandemic.

So far, AI-generated content shared by campaigns in Argentina has either been labeled as AI-generated or is so clearly fabricated that it is unlikely to fool even the most gullible voters. Instead, technology has boosted the ability to create viral content that previously would have taken teams of graphic designers days or weeks to complete.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, said this week that it would require political ads to disclose whether they used AI. Other unpaid posts on sites that use AI, even if related to politics, would not be required to include any disclosures. The US Federal Election Commission is also considering Whether the use of AI in political ads should be regulated.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based research group that studies internet platforms, signed a letter urging such regulations. Isabelle Frances-Wright, the group’s director of technology and society, said the extensive use of AI in Argentina’s elections was worrying.

“I absolutely think it’s a slippery slope,” he said. “A year from now, what already seems very realistic will only seem even more so.”

Massa’s campaign said it decided to use AI in an effort to show that Peronism, the 78-year-old political movement behind Massa, can appeal to young voters by mixing Massa’s image with pop and meme culture.

To do so, campaign engineers and artists fed photographs of various political actors in Argentina into open source software called Stable Diffusion to train its own artificial intelligence system so it could create fake images of those real people. Now they can quickly produce an image or video of more than a dozen of Argentina’s top political players doing almost anything they’re asked to do.

During the campaign, Massa’s communications team has informed the artists working with the campaign’s AI about what messages or emotions they want the images to convey, such as national unity, family values ​​and fear. The artists then brainstormed ways to include Massa or Milei, as well as other political figures, in content referencing movies, memes, art styles, or moments in history.

For Halloween, Massa’s campaign asked its AI to create a series of cartoonish images of Mr. Milei and his allies as zombies. The campaign also used AI to create a drama movie trailerwhich features Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, in flames, Mr. Milei as an evil villain in a straitjacket, and Mr. Massa as the hero who will save the country.

AI images have also appeared in the real world. The Soviet posters were one of dozens of designs that Massa’s campaign and his supporters printed to display in Argentina’s public spaces.

Some images were generated by the campaign’s AI, while others were created by supporters using AI, including one of the best known, an image of Mr. Massa riding a horse in the style of José de San Martín, a hero of the Argentine independence.

“Massa was too rigid,” said Octavio Tome, a community organizer who helped create the image. “We are showing a Massa who looks like a boss, and he is very Argentine.”

The rise of AI in Argentina’s elections has also made some voters wonder what is real. After a video circulated last week in which Massa appeared exhausted after a campaign event, his critics accused him of being on drugs. His followers quickly responded, claiming that the video was actually a deepfake.

His campaign confirmed, however, that the video was real.

Massa said people were already using AI to try to cover up past mistakes or scandals. “It’s very easy to hide behind artificial intelligence when something you said comes to light and you didn’t want it to,” Massa said in the interview.

Early in the race, Patricia Bullrich, a candidate who failed to qualify for the runoff, tried to explain away leaked audio recordings of her economic advisor offering a woman a job in exchange for sex by saying the recordings were fabricated. “They can fake voices, alter videos,” she said.

Were the recordings real or fake? It is not clear.

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