Anyone paying attention to the presidential election in the United States understands that this year isn’t normal. Trust is at an all-time low, which means division is at an all-time high. With the Republican Primary field down to two major candidates, the world watches with bated breath to see who will win the nomination to take on the sitting President. As the news media focuses on the back and forth between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, one story is flying under the radar in a way it shouldn’t be:
To be clear, an investigation is underway, and no one official is blaming the Trump campaign for any type of malfeasance (including this author) at this time. However, this was a boost to the Trump campaign, no matter where it came from. Here’s why…
New Hampshire’s Primary is a semi-closed Primary. This means that while any registered Republican can vote, so can independents or those registered voters with no declared affiliation. Registered Democrats, wanting to make an impact this past Tuesday, had to either unregister as a Democrat in early October 2023 or sit this primary out. Roughly 4,000 Democrats did just that, which is statistically insignificant to the amount of voters in the primary.
Candidate Nikki Haley is the underdog in the entire Primary season and is attempting to appeal to moderate Republicans, center to right-leaning independents, and anyone who isn’t a fan of the former President who is the Republican front-runner. Haley has to cast a wide net in order to create a coalition large enough to defeat Donald Trump and win the nomination.
So, how did A.I. help the Trump campaign while harming the Haley campaign’s chances? By having a Deep Fake President Biden call many in New Hampshire with this message:
“Republicans have been trying to push nonpartisan and Democratic voters to participate in their primary. What a bunch of malarkey. We know the value of voting Democratic when our votes count. It’s important that you save your vote for the November election. We’ll need your help in electing Democrats up and down the ticket. Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again…”
(Listen to the entire message here).
Essentially, fake President Biden is telling people to stay home. This was specifically targeted to those independents and Democrats who could show up to protest vote against Trump. Diehard Trump supporters wouldn’t listen to the current president, and even the center-right may be turned off by the call, assuming they believed it was actually a recorded message from President Biden. This was clearly targeted disinformation created to ensure a lower turnout for Nikki Haley.
If you consider the current political climate in the United States, a robocall is a perfect delivery method. Trust between people and those they oppose politically is the lowest it’s ever been since possibly the Civil War. Add to that, the one age demographic that trusts traditional sources more than any other age range are the Boomers and older generations. Therefore, calls to people with landlines and even cell phones who would even believe that President Biden is asking them to do something are those who would still use a phone call as the primary way of receiving information. Targeting this type of attack at Millennials or even GenX would be much less effective as they’d be used to getting this type of information from social media. It’s effective targeting, and this is why New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella is investigating this as a crime.
The 2024 election is going to be rife with disinformation, mostly driven by A.I. There is nothing stopping a foreign intelligence agency, or even a political campaign, from leveraging the ChatGPTs of the world to create hundreds of fake websites that contain thousands of articles with hyperbolic and demonstrably false information and then disseminate this junk to the world, all while creating bots that can interact with actual voters like a human and persuade them the information is real and that they’re the ones who are wrong. Add to this deep fake audio and video being pumped out 24/7 to a crowd that already has a confirmation bias against the targeted politician, a retroactive news industry that will take too long to declare the “news” as fake, and what we end up with is a population that doesn’t just start believing incorrect things… they start to lose their reality.
2024 is going to be a litmus test of our sanity. Here’s hoping we all pass.
Nick is a internationally recognized speaker, member of the Forbes Technology Council, TEDx Speaker, strategic advisor to humanID, regular columnist for Forbes, award winning co-author of a bestselling book “Easy Prey”, host of “The Deep Dive” nationally syndicated radio show, on the Board of Advisors for Roosevelt University’s College of Arts and Sciences as well as their Center for Cyber and Information Security, the President of The Foundation for a Human Internet, contributor to the Cyber Peace Institute, and is the Official Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition. Nick is known as an industry thought leader and sought after for his advice on the future of technology and how it will impact every day businesses and consumers.