OPINION: The Dangers of AI Going into an Election Year

Credit: Getty Images/Douglas Rissing

By Maite Guerra, M.P.S

February 28, 2024

As the political landscape heats up in Nevada and across the nation, the specter of artificial intelligence looms large over the electoral process. In this digital age, where information is abundant and algorithms shape our reality, the dangers of AI manipulation cannot be overstated. It is crucial for voters, especially the Spanish-speaking community, to be aware of the influence of AI, to spot its subtle presence, and to discern fact from fiction.

Artificial intelligence has filled every aspect of our lives, from the ads we see online to the recommendations we receive on social media platforms. Its impact on the political sphere is profound, with algorithms shaping the content we consume and the opinions we form. In an election year, the stakes are higher than ever, and the manipulation of information through AI poses a significant threat to the integrity of the democratic process.

Nevada, a battleground state with its diverse population and pivotal role in national politics, is particularly vulnerable to the influence of AI. Therefore, the Spanish-speaking community should be on high alert, as they are often the focus of AI-driven strategies designed to influence their political beliefs and voting behavior. As candidates compete for attention and support, AI-powered algorithms work tirelessly behind the scenes to sway public opinion, targeting specific demographics, including Spanish speakers, and spreading misinformation.

Right-wing bad actors—recognizing the growing size and importance of the Spanish-speaking demographic in states like Nevada—have increasingly targeted this community in their political strategy and outreach efforts with tailored campaigns and messaging aimed to sway opinions and gain support.

Spanish speakers often rely on Spanish media for news and information, making them a prime target for AI-powered algorithms that tailor content to linguistic preferences.

So how can the Spanish-speaking community spot the invisible hand of AI in the political arena? Awareness is key. Understanding the signs of AI manipulation can help any voters navigate the murky waters of online discourse. Look out for suspicious patterns of behavior, such as accounts with minimal activity or a large number of followers. Be wary of sensationalist headlines and content designed to provoke an emotional response. And above all, question everything – the truth is often buried beneath layers of algorithmic bias and agenda-driven propaganda.

But it’s not just AI-driven misinformation that the Spanish-speaking community should be wary of – the very algorithms that shape our news feeds can also perpetuate a dangerous cycle of echo chambers and confirmation bias. In an age of information overload, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of selective exposure, seeking out sources that align with our preconceived beliefs and shutting out dissenting voices. The result is a fractured media landscape where truth becomes subjective and facts are up for debate.

To safeguard against AI-driven manipulation, the community must exercise critical thinking and media literacy. Fact-checking should be a habit, not an afterthought. Seek out reputable sources and cross-reference information from multiple outlets. Engage in civil discourse and be open to differing perspectives.

As we navigate the complexities of an election year in the digital age, the dangers of AI manipulation loom large. In Nevada and beyond, the influence of artificial intelligence on the political process is undeniable. But with awareness, vigilance, and a commitment to truth, the Nevada community can rise above the tide of misinformation and safeguard the integrity of our democracy.

The stakes are high, but the power to effect change lies within each and every one of us.

  • Maite Guerra, M.P.S

    Maite Guerra serves as the Research Manager at Battle Born Progress and the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, where she spearheads research initiatives aimed at countering disinformation targeting the Latino/Hispanic community in Nevada. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she also gained valuable experience as a staffing assistant for Congressman Steven Horford. Maite recently earned her Master's Degree in American Politics with a specialization in American Politics from New York University. During her time at NYU, she contributed her expertise to organizations such as Make the Road, The Progressive Turnout Project, and the Elizabeth Brickfield Campaign. Her commitment to social justice extends beyond her professional endeavors, as evidenced by her volunteer work as a legal intern for the Asian Community Development Council and with the ACLU of Nevada. With a profound passion for the political sphere, Maite endeavors to continue advocating for equitable policies and representation, aspiring to foster positive change in communities nationwide through her research, advocacy, and activism.



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