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AI will upset democracies, dictatorships, and elections

There’s no mistaking it: Artificial intelligence is here, and it’s already playing a major role in elections around the globe. In a year with national elections in 64 countries, the world’s governments are seeing the immediate impact of this nascent technology in real time.

In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan – behind bars, with his party banned – used deepfake technology to simulate his voice and image to galvanize supporters. Khan’s allies (running as independents) took the greatest share of the vote, shocking the military-political establishment in Islamabad.

In Indonesia, Defense Minister Prabowo Subiantoused a “chubby-cheeked AI avatar” to appeal to younger voters on TikTok — and it worked. Official tallies are still pending, but Subianto is the presumed winner of the race, and watchdogs have criticized the conduct of the polls.

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Indonesian Defense Minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto salutes supporters after delivering a speech at the Jakarta Convention Center during a campaign rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Feb. 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

Prabowo Subianto set to win Indonesian election

Indonesians voted in the world’s biggest single-day election yesterday, where 259,000 candidates vied for 20,600 posts across the archipelago of 17,000 islands.

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