There was a flood of deepfakes within the Indian elections – but overall the AI ​​was a win for democracy

When India biggest election on the planet on 5 June 2024, with over 640 million votes The numbers allow observers to evaluate how the varied parties and factions are using artificial intelligence technologies – and what lessons this may teach the remaining of the world.

The campaigns made extensive use of AI, including deepfake impersonations of candidates, celebrities and deceased politicians. According to some estimates Millions of Indian voters Deepfakes viewed.

But despite fears of widespread disinformation the largest part The campaigns, candidates and activists used AI constructively of their election campaigns. They used AI for typical political activities, including defamation, but most significantly to higher connect with voters.

Deepfakes without deception

India’s political parties spent an estimated $50 million on authorized AI-generated content for targeted communication with their voters this election cycle. And it was largely successful.

Indian political strategists have long recognized the influence of personality and emotions on their electorate and have began using AI to strengthen their messages. Young and emerging AI firms like The Indian Deepfakerwhich originally served the entertainment industry, quickly responded to the growing demand for AI-generated campaign material.

In January, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, who was chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu for twenty years, via video on the conference of his party's youth wing. He wore his typical yellow scarf, a white shirt, dark glasses and had his well-known posture – his head tilted barely to the side. But Karunanidhi died in 2018. His party authorized the deepfake.

Deepfake technology brought a dead politician into the Indian election campaign.

In February, the official X-Account of the All-India Anna Dravidian Progressive Federation Party published a Audio clip of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, the enduring superstar of Tamil politics popularly called 'Amma' or 'Mother'. Jayalalithaa died in 2016.

Meanwhile, voters received calls from their local representatives to debate local issues – apart from the leader on the opposite end of the road. was an AI Identity fraud. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) employees like Shakti Singh Rathore recurrently visit AI startups to personalized videos Inform specific voters in regards to the government advantages they’ve received and ask them for his or her vote via WhatsApp.

Multilingualism boost

Deepfakes weren’t the one manifestation of AI within the Indian elections. Long before the elections began, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a tightly packed crowd celebrating the ties between the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India and the town of Varanasi within the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Modi asked his audience to placed on headphones and proudly announced the launch of his “new AI technology” as his Hindi speech translated into Tamil Real time.

In a rustic with 22 official languages ​​and almost 780 unofficial recorded languagesThe BJP has introduced AI tools to make Modi's personality accessible to voters in regions where Hindi will not be easily understood. Since 2022, Modi and his BJP have been using the AI-powered tool Bhashiniembedded within the NaMo Mobile Appto translate Modi's speeches with voiceover in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Odia, Bengali, Marathi and Punjabi.

As a part of their demos, some AI firms distributed their very own viral versions of Modi's famous monthly radio show “Mann Ki Baat,” which loosely translates to “From the Heart,” and spoke them in cloned regional languages.

Opposing uses

Indian political parties step up their online trolling with the assistance of artificial intelligence to multiply their ongoing meme wars. At the start of the election season, the Indian National Congress published a short clip to his 6 million followers on Instagram, using the title track of a brand new Hindi music album called “Chor” (thief). The video grafted Modi's digital likeness onto the lead singer and cloned his voice with reworked lyrics criticizing his close ties to Indian business tycoons.

The BJP retaliated with your individual videoon his Instagram account with 7 million followers, with a supercut of Modi's campaign on the streets, mixed with clips of his supporters, but with unique music. It was an old patriotic Hindi song sung by the famous singer Mahendra Kapoorwho died in 2008 but was brought back to life by AI voice commands.

Modi himself Quote tweeted an AI-generated video of him dancing – a standard meme that alters footage of the rapper Lil Yachty on stage – and commented: “Such creativity in the peak poll season is really a joy.”

In some cases violent rhetoric in Modi's election campaign, which endangered Muslims and called for violence has been transfered through using generative AI tools, however the damage is as a result of the hateful rhetoric itself and never necessarily the AI ​​tools used to spread it.

The Indian experience

India is an early adopter, and the country's AI experiments serve for instance of what the remaining of the world can expect in future elections. The technology's ability to create involuntary deepfakes of anyone may make it harder to tell apart truth from fiction, but its consensual use will likely make democracy more accessible.

The use of artificial intelligence in India's election campaign, which began with entertainment, political meme wars, emotional appeals to the population, resurrected politicians and persuasion through personalized phone calls to voters, has paved a way for the role of artificial intelligence in participatory democracy.

The surprising result the election, with the BJP's failure to win the expected parliamentary majority and India's return to a extremely competitive The political system particularly highlights the likelihood that AI can play a positive role in deliberative democracy and representative governance.

Lessons for the world’s democracies

In a democracy, the goal of each political party and candidate is to interact with their voters in a more targeted way. The Indian elections were a novel try and use AI to speak more personalized with linguistically and ethnically diverse voter groups and make their messages more accessible, especially to the low-income rural population.

AI and the long run of participatory democracy couldn’t only personalize communication with voters, but additionally turn it right into a dialogue, allowing them to share their demands and experiences quickly and on a big scale directly with their representatives.

India will be an example of find out how to extend its recent development in AI-powered communication between parties and folks beyond politics. The government is already using these platforms to Provision of presidency services the residents of their mother tongue.

If used safely and ethically, this technology could provide a possibility for a brand new era of representative governance, during which the needs and experiences of individuals in rural areas specifically reach Parliament.

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