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Digital dominance in the 2024 elections

09.07.2024 03:30 AM
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Digital dominance in the 2024 elections
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For many years now, artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies have been integrated into every step of the voting process. What distinguishes the current landscape is their unprecedented scale and impact.
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Digital dominance in the 2024 elections
The spotlights are on technology, particularly AI, as a record number of voters submit choices that will determine the future direction of the EU and more than 60 countries in the years to come.

It has been noted for some time that digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), are now a vital component of the election process at every turn, from the start of campaigns to elections. The unparalleled scope and influence of the modern environment set it apart. In 2023, generative AI—a kind of AI that lets people create new text, video, and audio content—made a big breakthrough and became available to millions of users. Generative artificial intelligence (AI) adds to the spread of disinformation by creating incorrect and misleading narratives at a rate never seen before, thanks to its capacity to create enormous volumes of content fast. The multiple global elections that are crucial in determining the destiny of certain governments have focused a significant amount of attention on artificially generated material because of its ability to influence election results.
Easy-to-produce deepfakes have become common in political campaigns, raising concerns about the veracity of material and alarming politicians to demand more security measures from Big Tech.

Big Tech’s response
 
At the Munich Security Conference, major companies in the field of generative AI, such as Microsoft and OpenAI, joined forces with Meta Platforms, TikTok, and X (previously Twitter) to combat potentially dangerous content. The tech accord's supporters pledged to collaborate in developing tools for identifying targeted content, educating the public through awareness-raising campaigns, and taking appropriate action when they saw incorrect content on their platforms. Potential approaches being examined to address this difficulty include watermarking or embedding metadata, with a primary focus on photographs, videos, and audio, to authenticate the source of AI-generated content.
Tech companies quickly responded to European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton's request for Big Tech to support European efforts to combat electoral disinformation.
In February, TikTok declared that it would introduce an in-app feature for election centers in local languages in EU member states to stop the spread of false material prior to the election year.
In order to quickly identify and address issues such as propaganda and improper use of generative AI, Meta plans to create an Elections Operations Center. Google is working with a European network of fact-checkers to create a special verification database in time for the next election. In order to improve consumers' ability to identify false information, Google previously declared the beginning of an anti-misinformation initiative in a number of EU member states. This campaign would use "pre-bunking" approaches.
 
However, some people remain not satisfied with the continuous efforts made by IT corporations to reduce false information. Prior to international elections, more than 200 advocacy groups urge tech giants like Google, Meta, Reddit, TikTok, and X to adopt a more aggressive position against misinformation powered by AI. According to their claims, a number of the main social media companies have reduced the scope of critical interventions, such as "trust and safety, civil-society monitoring tools, and content moderation," leaving platforms "worse prepared to defend users and democracy in 2024." In addition, the companies are asked to apply uniform moderation standards to all accounts, promote factual content algorithmically, disclose AI-generated content, restrict deepfakes in political advertisements, and increase transparency by regularly reporting on enforcement procedures and revealing the AI tools and data they are trained on.
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