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Cascade PBS Ideas Festival

Journalists, politicians, authors and newsmakers from around the world come together.

Radio Atlantic: AI Elections

Will voters be swayed by deepfakes and misinformation? The Atlantic's Hanna Rosin and Charlie Warzel talk about the political impact of the technology.

This year, two events will collide: AI voice replicas accurate enough to fool your best friend will be easier than ever to use; and half the world’s population will undergo an election. Hanna Rosin, host of Radio Atlantic, and Charlie Warzel, an Atlantic staff writer covering technology, discuss AI’s potential to harass, commit fraud and sow political discord.  

As part of the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival, Rosin and Warzel examine the rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence technology that have quickly become part of mainstream society. ChatGPT is now a resource for everyone doing research, writing code or a cover letter, analyzing data or translating a foreign language. AI can produce shockingly accurate custom images and voice clones at the stroke of a few keys, with deepfakes already part of the online ecosystem.   

How will deepfakes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump and other politicians impact the 2024 election? Will voters be fooled, and even if they are savvy enough to tell the difference, will the emotional impact be enough to swing elections? Democrats, Republicans and Independent strategists are scrambling to keep up, fearing their opponents will gain an unfair advantage using these dubious techniques.  

The future is here. Rosin and Warzel bring on some special AI guests to have some fun and try to fool the audience with comparisons between real people and robot voices, exposing the potential for scams and misinformation to a dangerous degree. 

This conversation was recorded in Seattle on May 4, 2024.   

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