Collegium Helveticum
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Created by Antonio Martella using Midjourney.
Fellow Lecture

Generative AI, Social Media, and the Super-Election Year of 2024

Informations

Venue & accessibility info: Meridian Hall, Collegium Helveticum

This is a public event. Participation is free of charge and registration is not required.

The lecture is followed by a small reception.

Publicly available tools like ChatGPT, Dall.E, or Midjourney enable internet users to create texts and images from prompts without programming skills or expert knowledge. They also add to the strategic arsenal of political campaigns, for instance by providing cheap visual content without copyright issues. In an increasingly visual campaign environment on platforms like Instagram or TikTok, politicians and political parties use these images to illustrate their ideologies–and, potentially, to create and spread disinformation.

Like many technologies before, the rise of generative AI is accompanied by fierce public debates along the lines of “glory” and “doom”, various dichotomous predictions ranging from existential fears to instrumental concerns. With regards to election campaigns, AI arrives in times of democratic backsliding and an epistemic crisis, feeding into worries about the future of public spheres and citizen’s perceptions of a shared reality.

Will the widely available AI tools, in combination with the (so far) almost unregulated distributive power of social media platforms, unleash the perfect storm in a year when more than half of the world’s population is called to vote in over 60 elections?

The lecture will start with some compelling examples of how artificially created contents are being used in election campaigns, and will discuss key insights from media effects studies on the impact of election campaigns on voting decisions, providing a deeper understanding of the evolving field of digital political communication.

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