How AI Is Reshaping Campaign Strategies in Real Timeby@devinpartida

How AI Is Reshaping Campaign Strategies in Real Time

by Devin PartidaJune 14th, 2024
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Currently, there aren’t federal rules on campaigns using AI-generated content. With AI, teams can rapidly analyze massive amounts of constituent data. With predictive analytics, they can forecast voter behavior without putting in the effort to simulate their campaign. While AI-driven campaigns could be transformative forces, they also have the power to mislead voters.
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Does artificial intelligence have a place in politics? The answer may not matter. While AI-driven political campaigns might seem futuristic, they’re already here — and may permanently change how future candidates run for office.

AI Is Transforming Modern Politics

Now that AI has entered the picture, the current political landscape is reminiscent of the wild west. Currently, there aren’t federal rules on campaigns using AI-generated content. While the United States Federal Election Commission is contemplating rolling some out, it can’t keep pace with technological advancements.

Voter analysis is fundamental to most modern strategies since voters’ opinions decide elections. With AI, teams can rapidly analyze massive amounts of constituent data. In other words, they fast-track their decision-making process. The Trump campaign did this for the 2016 presidential election, and Biden’s did it for the 2020 election.

This technology is also transforming fundraising. Before, political candidates would air radio commercials or make TV appearances to drum up support and kickstart cash flow. With AI, they can analyze past contributions, communication preferences, and income data to see who’s most likely to donate. They can even use chatbots to engage with potential donors instantly.

Candidates can even use a generative model to develop appealing personas. It can tell them how to act, what to say, and what stances to take, helping them craft the most appealing version of themselves and transforming how modern politicians approach current issues and connect with voters.

Given that algorithms are reshaping voter analysis, fundraising, communications, and talking points — almost every aspect of modern strategies — political analysts’ argument that tech has affected campaigns is unsurprising.

How AI Reshapes Campaign Strategies

Algorithms can analyze vast amounts of unstructured data — information not stored in databases or spreadsheets — inhumanly fast. It can process thousands of social media posts, websites, text documents, photos, or videos in seconds, swiftly generating valuable insights for candidates and campaign managers.

Teams can feed voter information into an AI-powered digital twin to simulate campaign strategies without risking money, time, or their public image. By adjusting variables like the states they visit or the number of their rallies, they figure out how to optimize their outreach efforts.

With predictive analytics, they can forecast voter behavior without putting in the effort to simulate their campaign. They can see the likelihood certain blocs will vote for them using voting patterns, geographic data, online behavior, demographics, and survey results. They can use those insights to reshape their strategies to change people’s minds.

Generative models help teams tailor messages to specific groups. Someday, they may use deepfake technology to get in touch with individual voters, hyper-personalizing their outreach efforts. AI-driven campaigns like this one would be seriously effective.

Will AI-Driven Campaigns Affect Democracy?

Like most things nowadays, AI has light and dark sides. While AI-driven campaigns could be transformative forces that bring the world into a new age of comprehensive outreach and lighting-fast information dissemination, they also have the power to mislead voters and propagate the spread of dangerous misinformation.

Most people are more concerned with the second prospect — and want something done about it. According to one recent survey, 68% of people agree AI use should be voluntarily disclosed. Considering how subtle this technology's influence can be, the general public’s support for transparency makes sense.

That said, not everyone believes decision-makers will willingly embrace transparency. Inevitably, many people support regulation — an opinion that bridges party lines. Four in 10 people think algorithms should be much more regulated, including 41% of democrats, 40% of independents, and 39% of republicans.

Ethical and Privacy Considerations

Political analysts, the general public, and even politicians have plenty of ethical and privacy concerns about AI in politics.

Political Candidate’s Overreliance on AI

What happens when AI-driven political campaigns become the norm? If candidates consistently do what an algorithm suggests instead of running on their own principles, their behavior in office might not reflect their campaign trail statements.

Biased, Skewed or Dirty Training Data

Data is only effective if it’s thoroughly vetted for cleanliness, relevancy, and accuracy. Since elections take time, candidates may rush to collect up-to-date information for real-time insights. In other words, they might unintentionally create a biased or inaccurate model.

At best, their faulty algorithm gives them bad ideas that lower their approval rating. At worst, it suggests something unethical or overlooks entire voting blocs, potentially causing geopolitical tension or driving support for questionable stances.

Opaque and Invasive Voter Analysis

Politicians will go to great lengths for information when they realize it grants a competitive edge. People should ask themselves where they draw the line — AI could track their online behavior, monitor their voting patterns, and report its findings to candidates’ campaign managers.

Leveraging AI in Politics Could Go Either Way

AI isn’t inherently evil or good — it’s just a tool. It can do amazing things if candidates and their campaign managers use it sparingly and transparently, considering ethical and privacy issues. Of course, the same concept applies to dishonest and excessive use. For now, only time will tell how this technology will affect how future politicians run for office.