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AI could "supercharge" misinformation in 2024 election. How will Pennsylvania officials combat it?

Advances in artificial intelligence spark worries over misinformation, security ahead of elections
Advances in artificial intelligence spark worries over misinformation, security ahead of elections 02:30

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Artificial intelligence technology has advanced rapidly to the point where experts say anyone can create exceptionally realistic images and videos in just minutes and from their homes.

The technological advancement has caused some security experts headaches when it comes to stopping the spread of misinformation ahead of the 2024 election.

"If you thought those election cycles were bad when it came to misinformation and disinformation," Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff for the Department of Homeland Security, said, "you ain't seen nothing yet."

Misinformation in the 2024 election cycle

Misinformation is nothing new when it comes to American political discourse. It spread rampantly through social media during the 2020 cycle.

But this year's election coincides with major advancements in artificial intelligence technology. It can make creating fake videos, audio and images of top political figures much easier and seem more realistic.

"In 2024, deepfakes that are powered by AI are going to supercharge misinformation," Taylor said.

Artificial intelligence has already entered the 2024 fray. In January, during the New Hampshire primary election, a robocall went out to Democrats in the state mimicking President Joe Biden's voice. The call reportedly urged them to "save your vote for the November election," and skip primary day.

Robocalls aren't security experts' biggest concerns

But it isn't even calls like these that worry security experts like Taylor are most worried about.

"I'm actually less worried about people creating deepfakes of the president and other well-known people," Taylor said, "and much more worried about adversaries creating deepfakes of people we know and trust in our personal lives."

Taylor said that could include calls mimicking the voices of local poll workers, faith leaders and even loved ones. It's why his new group, The Future US, created a PSA featuring AI-generated voices showing just that scenario.

If you're wondering how someone could get a sample of your voice, experts say it's likely already out there.

"If you have video or audio recordings of you on your social media, somebody can access this and use it to train up a voice training generator," Matthew Stamm, a professor and director of the Multimedia Information and Security Lab at Drexel University, said.

How is Pennsylvania handling AI and the 2024 election?

Pennsylvania officials have taken notice as well.

"AI presents a whole different challenge, or certainly a challenge of a greater magnitude," Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt said.

Schmidt acknowledges battleground Pennsylvania will likely be a target for bad actors and that advancements in AI can ramp that up. But he's assuring voters their votes are safe, and election officials are ready for whatever this cycle brings.

"Whether it's our task force or our county election administrators, everyone will be prepared for what 2024 has in store," Schmidt said.

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