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Francis Suarez launches AI chatbot for presidential campaign

The online bot, which looks and sounds like the Miami mayor, can answer general campaign questions and even take jabs at political opponents.
Francis Suarez launches AI chatbot for presidential campaign
Posted at 2:56 PM, Jul 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-07 14:56:56-04

A fundraising group supporting the presidential campaign of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has just launched an artificial intelligence chatbot that's hitting the digital campaign trail.

The SOS America super PAC unveiled the AI-powered avatar Wednesday. The bot not only looks and sounds like Suarez, but is also able to respond to questions people may have about the Republican mayor.

"Hi, I'm AI Francis Suarez," the bot says in an introduction video. "You've probably heard that my namesake, conservative Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, is running for president. I'm here to answer questions you may have about Mayor Suarez's proven agenda for economic prosperity, cutting spending and supporting our police. So, how can I help?"

While you can click on a microphone and ask anything you like, the bot simply directs you to different videos about  specific political topics on Suarez's agenda. For example, when asked what Suarez likes most about the United States, the bot gives a short monologue about "Mayor Suarez's Miami Model" and discusses general political topics like immigration, jobs, homelessness and the economy.

When asked questions about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who's leading his own campaign for president — the avatar transforms into a caricature that introduces itself as "AI Ron DeSantis."

"Listen, I know conservative Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is concerned with saving America's economy, supporting our police officers, keeping American communities safe, and standing up to China," the bot continues, before taking a jab at the governor's recent feuds with Florida-based Disney. "But I want to talk about the single greatest threat to American families today. Mickey Mouse! Yes, Mickey Mouse! Run for your lives!"

SEE MORE: Rapid growth of artificial intelligence could transform 2024 election

This is just the latest example of how AI is being used by 2024 candidates to transform their political campaigns. Last month, the DeSantis campaign posted a video on social media that featured AI-generated photos of former President Donald Trump hugging infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — whom he often criticized during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Another attack ad released this year by the Republican National Committee shows a fabricated, dystopian society that's meant to depict a future if President Joe Biden gets reelected. The ad notes in the top left — in very small font — that it was "made entirely with AI imagery.

Negative ads that stretch the truth are nothing new in politics. The first is believed to be President Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy ad," which implies another candidate could create a nuclear war. However, political attack ads have only intensified over the years. And the introduction of AI has made it even easier to cheaply produce fake campaign images and videos.

There have been considerations about regulating AI in politics before the 2024 presidential race intensifies even further. 

In a meeting last month, the Federal Election Commission debated the possibility of introducing new AI rules. But the effort did not pass, with policymakers concluding they don't currently have authority to address the issue.


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