Most Americans are weary of AI negatively impacting the 2024 election: Survey

News & Politics

A recent report has indicated that more than 75% of American adults believe the prevalence of artificial intelligence systems will have a substantial impact on the 2024 presidential election, according to Fox News Digital.

The survey was conducted by the Elon University Poll and the Imagining the Digital Future Center at Elon University. The data revealed that around 73% of Americans believe AI will be used to manipulate social media leading up to the election, which could tip the scales come voting time.

‘Voters think this election will unfold in an extraordinarily challenging news and information environment.’

These social media manipulations could take the form of fake accounts coming up with misinformation or distorting voters’ impression of the campaign, according to the report.

Additionally, 70% of Americans believe AI-generate audio and video deepfakes could contribute to voter outcomes in the presidential election. And 62% of voters believe AI could convince some people to not even show up to the ballot box.

Lee Rainie, Director of Elon University’s Imagining the Digital Future Center, said: “Voters think this election will unfold in an extraordinarily challenging news and information environment.”

“They anticipate that new kinds of misinformation, faked material and voter-manipulation tactics are being enabled by AI. What’s worse, many aren’t sure they can sort through the garbage they know will be polluting campaign-related content,” Rainie added.

An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that political candidates should face punishment if they intentionally or maliciously change or fake photos. Out of the 93% of Americans who believe this, 46% of them said the candidate should be barred from office, and 36% said the perpetrator should face criminal prosecution.

Most Democrats, Republicans, and independents are unsure whether AI systems are fair or biased toward different groups. However, Republicans appear to be more weary of AI systems than Democrats. Those on the right were found to feel that AI systems would be more likely to be biased against their political views.

“Misinformation in elections has been around since before the invention of computers, but many worry about the sophistication of AI technology in 2024 giving bad actors an accessible tool to spread misinformation at an unprecedented scale,” Jason Husser, professor of political science and director of the Elon University Poll, said.

“We know that most voters are aware of AI risks to the 2024 election. However, the behavioral implications of that awareness will remain unclear until we see the aftermath of AI-generated misinformation. An optimistic hope is that risk-aware voters may approach information in the 2024 cycle with heightened caution, leading them to become more sophisticated consumers of political information. A pessimistic outlook is that worries about AI-misinformation might translate into diminished feelings of self-efficacy, institutional trust and civic engagement.”

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