Artificial Intelligence Election Misinformation

Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., flanked by Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., left, and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., holds a news conference at the Capitol in 2021. Legislation that would require candidates to label campaign advertisements created with AI has been introduced in the House by Clarke.

WASHINGTON — Computer engineers and tech-inclined political scientists have warned for years that cheap, powerful artificial intelligence tools would soon allow anyone to create fake images, video and audio that was realistic enough to fool voters and perhaps sway an election.

The synthetic images that emerged were often crude, unconvincing and costly to produce, especially when other kinds of misinformation were so inexpensive and easy to spread on social media. The threat posed by AI and so-called deepfakes always seemed a year or two away.

No more.