Democratic tech leaders, like Zinc Labs executive director Matt Hodges, told me that training campaigns on these tools now could prevent headaches further down the road.

“We don’t want to start that process six months from now. Starting today is how we stay ahead of that curve,” says Hodges, who was also the former engineering director for the Biden 2020. Zinc Labs also provides AI trainings for campaigns.

Earlier this year, big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft signed a pact agreeing to roll out “reasonable precautions” to prevent their generative AI tools from contributing to some electoral catastrophe across the globe. The accord asks that the companies detect and label deceptive content created with AI.

Microsoft and Google have fused its labeling and watermarking programs into the campaign workshops as well. Microsoft says it provides a crash course on its “content credentials,” or its watermarking technology, and explains to campaigns how they can apply it to their own campaign materials to ensure their authenticity. Similarly, Google explains its own program, SynthID, that labels images created with its AI tools.

It’s these types of content authentication regimes that Big Tech believes could alleviate the risks of deepfakes, cheapfakes, and other forms of AI-altered content from disrupting the US elections.

But despite signing the tech accords and other voluntary measures, none of these authentication methods are foolproof, as WIRED’s Kate Knibbs has reported before.

And it’s a little more complicated than just promoting content authentication for Microsoft and Google. Their AI chatbots, Copilot and Gemini, haven’t proved that they can answer simple questions on election history either. When asked who won the 2020 presidential election, both chatbots declined to provide an answer, my colleague David Gilbert reported last week. These would be the models providing policy guidance to campaigns. They’re also the models that support the AI bots that answer voter questions or run as candidates themselves.

Six months out from Election Day, Big Tech is supplying both the venom and the antidote on gen AI to campaigns. Even if their authentication programs could identify AI-generated content 100 percent of the time, the government would likely need to intervene in order to standardize the tech across the board.

So for now—and probably the rest of the year—it will be up to the AI industry not to make any disastrous mistakes when it comes to creating or detecting harmful content.

The Chatroom

After reading Annie Jacobsen’s phenomenal “Nuclear War: A Scenario,” I’ve been a bit obsessed with reading about the end of the world. 𝓳𝓾𝓼𝓽 𝓰𝓲𝓻𝓵𝔂 𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼 ★~(◠‿◕✿)

So this week, I want you to flood my inbox with your worst fears when it comes to AI and all the elections taking place this year. I’m looking for something scary but also realistic.

I want to hear from you! Leave a comment on the site, or send me an email at [email protected].

💬 Leave a comment below this article.

WIRED Reads

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What Else We’re Reading

🔗 How Americans Navigate Politics on TikTok, X, Facebook, and Instagram: Despite its change in leadership, X, formerly Twitter, is still the top platform for users seeking political news. Republicans are much happier with the platform under Elon Musk’s control, too, according to a poll. (Pew Research)

🔗 Surgeon General: Why I’m Calling for a Warning Label on Social Media Platforms: In an op-ed for The New York Times, US surgeon general Vivek Murthy outlines why he thinks the government should attach warning labels to social media platforms. Murthy’s call comes ahead of a decision in the Murthy v. Missouri case that’s expected to drop this summer. (The New York Times)

🔗 FACT FOCUS: Biden’s pause as he left a star-studded LA fundraiser becomes a target for opponents: The Biden campaign faces its first major cheapfake scandal of the election cycle. Clips from a series of high-profile events, like the most recent G7 summit, have gone viral on platforms like X after they’ve been deceptively edited to exaggerate the effects of Biden’s age. (AP)

The Download

On this week’s WIRED Politics Lab podcast, host Leah Feiger chats with my colleague and senior reporter David Gilbert about some recent reporting he’s done on a nationwide militia group organized by an incarcerated January 6 rioter. You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

See you next week! You can get in touch with me via email, Instagram, X and Signal at makenakelly.32.

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