Last Updated on December 13, 2023 by SPN Editor
Shamaine Daniels, a Democratic candidate with a vision for change, is making waves in the political campaign by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in her campaign. In her bid for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Representative Scott Perry, Daniels is leveraging an innovative tool: Ashley, an AI volunteer. Unlike traditional automated callers, Ashley uses advanced generative AI technology to engage in personalized conversations with voters.
This pioneering approach, marking a new era in political campaign history, allows Daniels to connect with voters on a large scale while addressing their key concerns. Despite the potential ethical and regulatory challenges, Daniels’ use of Ashley AI reveals her commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to foster meaningful connections and drive her political campaign forward. This bold move could potentially redefine the future of political campaigning.
Ashley, an artificial intelligence (AI) volunteer. Ashley is far from your average automated caller. Her responses are not pre-recorded or canned. Instead, they are dynamically generated by advanced AI algorithms. Ashley was created by a team of developers who primarily work with Democratic campaigns. Her creation marks the dawn of a new era in political campaigning.
Ashley is the world’s first political campaign caller powered by generative AI technology, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Impressively, Ashley can engage in numerous personalized one-on-one conversations simultaneously. The introduction of generative AI in political campaigning has sparked excitement as it opens up new possibilities for large-scale, high-quality conversations between candidates and voters.
However, it also raises concerns in a politically polarized issue already dealing with the challenges posed by “deepfakes,” or AI-generated videos and images. Over a single weekend, Ashley reached out to thousands of Pennsylvania voters on behalf of Daniels. Functioning much like a seasoned volunteer, Ashley analyzes voter profiles to tailor discussions around their key concerns.
Unlike human volunteers, Ashley maintains unwavering dedication, flawlessly recalling all of Daniels’ stances and remaining unfazed by being hung up on. Ilya Mouzykantskii, the CEO of Civox, the company behind Ashley, is enthusiastic about the technology’s rapid scalability. “We intend to be making tens of thousands of calls a day by the end of the year and into the six digits pretty soon,” he stated, highlighting the potential impact on the 2024 elections.
For Daniels, Ashley is a game-changer in political campaigns, providing her with deeper insights into voter preferences, the ability to reach out to multilingual communities (Ashley speaks over 20 languages), and the capacity for numerous “high bandwidth” interactions. However, concerns about the use of AI in political campaigns are significant.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has expressed worries about AI-generated disinformation affecting election integrity. Mouzykantskii acknowledges these concerns and has rejected venture capital funding that might compromise ethical considerations.
Furthermore, Civox has chosen to be transparent, ensuring that Ashley’s robotic identity is disclosed and her AI nature is made clear, even though there is no legal requirement to do so. Despite the company’s discretion about the specific AI models used, Mouzykantskii and co-founder Adam Reis emphasize the rapid development facilitated by generative AI, a feat that would have required extensive resources and time just a few years ago.
The legal issues governing the use of AI in politics remain unclear. Few regulations directly address the deployment of this technology. While some states are debating legislation on deepfakes in elections, many jurisdictions lack specific regulations governing Civox’s activities.
Regulatory bodies like the FCC and FTC have begun inquiries into the impact of AI on unwanted calls, but their existing rules do not fully cover Civox’s methods. Mouzykantskii welcomes regulations, acknowledging the potential for AI to spread misinformation. He anticipates other companies creating AI callers that closely mimic human speech without disclosing their AI nature.
“This should provoke thoughts about just how close we are to some version of the future that has previously only been available in sci-fi movies and books,” he asserted, emphasizing the need for global legislators to pay attention. The reactions from recipients like David Fish, who appreciated Ashley’s disclosure as an AI, highlight the delicate balance between innovative political campaign and transparency in political outreach.