(USNewsMag.com) – Democratic Rep. Joseph Morelle of New York, a high-ranking member of the House Administration Committee, is asking the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an immediate investigation into AI-generated robocalls featuring the voice of President Joe Biden that urged voters in New Hampshire not to vote in the open primary election.
The New Hampshire primary election took place on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and saw another victory for former President Donald Trump. But before the election, a series of robocalls went out around the state advising its Democratic voters not to participate in the open primary election. The calls, which featured Biden’s voice, claimed that voting in the primary would only enable Republicans and help them re-elect Trump. The message told voters their vote would only make a difference “in November,” but not in the primary.
A campaign spokesperson told Axios that Biden was not behind the calls, which were dismissed as “deep fake disinformation” using AI (artificial intelligence) in a way intended “to harm” Biden by suppressing votes. The spokesperson said such actions “damage our democracy.” According to an NBC News report, the state attorney general of New Hampshire launched a probe into the matter.
Morelle sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday, Jan. 22, and said the robocalls were an attempt “to interfere” in New Hampshire’s primary election and “demands a thorough investigation” as well as “a forceful response” from the federal government. Morelle says such a response is necessary to deter any further attacks using AI systems in an attempt to “disrupt American democracy” and “disenfranchise” its voters.
The congressman’s letter comes as lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle argue over AI regulations while also trying to keep up with the rapidly developing technology so the government doesn’t fall behind. AI is becoming more integrated into all levels of society, from advertising and design to financial management and telecommunications. In his letter, Morelle says Congress needs to strengthen the ability of law enforcement “to detect and prevent” attempts to interfere with elections using AI.
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