The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a warning that foreign operatives and domestic extremists are likely to exploit artificial intelligence (AI) tools and create AI deepfakes to interfere with the 2024 US election.

These actors may use generative AI to create fake videos, audio, and other content aimed at influencing voters and sowing discord.

Despite the decentralized and robust nature of the US voting system making a large-scale attack less likely, the DHS warns that smaller-scale disruptions in key battleground areas remain a significant concern.

The chaotic information environment of the 2024 elections, already fraught with widespread distrust and false claims of voter fraud, will be further exacerbated by advanced AI tools. Unlike in 2020, these tools can now easily amplify false claims and conspiracy theories, posing new challenges for election security.

AI deepfakes

A recent incident highlighted these risks when an AI-generated robocall mimicked President Joe Biden’s voice, urging voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary not to vote. This attack was orchestrated by a political consultant using an AI tool, demonstrating the technology’s potential to disrupt elections.

Foreign governments, including China and Iran, have previously attempted to use AI-generated content to influence US elections. Although their efforts during the 2020 election were deemed ineffective, advancements in AI technology over the past four years have significantly improved the capability to create convincing deepfakes.

For instance, Chinese operatives have been active on social media, engaging in covert influence campaigns and gauging American opinions on contentious issues like US aid to Ukraine.

As election security officials brace for these enhanced threats, the need for vigilance and robust countermeasures has never been more critical. AI’s rapid advancement means that the tools for creating convincing fake content are more accessible than ever, making the 2024 election particularly vulnerable to new forms of interference.

Cover Photo: Depositphotos

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