Collegium Helveticum
generated using Midjourney
Fellow Project 2023–2024

Democracy, Election Campaigns, and Artificial Intelligence

The year 2024 will be a super election year, not only in the US or the EU. Never before have so many people been called to vote around the world. At the same time, the next frontier for political communication research is already here: the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Political parties already post artificially generated images on social media. Are democracies ready for this new campaigning tool?

This project seekts to conceptualize the challenges that rest in the combination of generative AI’s massive automated content production with the distributive superpowers of platforms. Social media platforms enable such content to circulate unchecked and reach massive audiences quickly. Studies have shown that false information travels faster, deeper, and further on social media platforms, especially false political information. However, how AI will play out in campaigning depends not only on the technology but also on how parties and society at large decide to play this game and how to set the rules for it. AI requires us to become critical thinkers who are able to doubt seemingly authentic images, videos, and even voices.