Tracking Political Deepfakes: New Database Aims to Inform, Inspire Policy Solutions

Political groups, campaigns, and even candidates themselves are posting and sharing deepfakes ‒ digitally altered audio, images, and videos ‒ in an attempt to influence voters ahead of the US presidential election. As these generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies become more common, researchers are now tracking their proliferation through a database of political deepfakes.

Kristian HammondThe creators of the Political Deepfakes Incidents DatabaseChristina Walker, Purdue University PhD candidate in political science; Daniel Schiff, Purdue assistant professor of technology policy; and Kaylyn Jackson Schiff, Purdue assistant professor of political science ‒ won the inaugural Northwestern Center for Advancing Safety of Machine Intelligence (CASMI) AI Incidents and Best Practices Paper Award and will present their findings at the Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI-24) on Feb. 22-24 in Vancouver, Canada. The work is detailed in their forthcoming paper entitled, “Merging AI Incidents Research with Political Misinformation Research: Introducing the Political Deepfakes Incidents Database.”

“This work is an example of exactly what we need to if we are to establish genuine awareness of the problems and potential harms caused by our technologies.” said Dr. Kristian Hammond, CASMI Director and Bill and Cathy Osborn Professor of Computer Science. “Resources like this provide policy makers with real examples of real harms that they can respond to with real solutions instead of vague concerns that result in unfocused rules and off point regulations.”


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