The 2024 election will be different.
There has never been a former president trying to get his job back since 1940 (President Hoover).
There has never been a president attempting to run for reelection over the age of 80.
There also hasn't been an election where fake campaign images are so easy to produce.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to be game-changing for political ads — but is it ethical? Should it be regulated?
Washington is struggling to answer these questions.
Negative ads that stretch the truth aren't new in politics.
The first is believed to be an ad by former President Lyndon Johnson known as the "Daisy" ad, which implies the choice is between Johnson and a candidate who could create nuclear war.
Since then, attack ads have only intensified.
That commercial, though, required an actor and actual images to be captured on film.
And that's the biggest thing that could change with the 2024 election.
For example, an ad produced this year by the Republican National Committee was generated entirely using AI.
It's not real, but it depicts what the GOP calls the country's possible future if President Joe Biden is reelected.
The ad does note in the top left — in very small font — that it's "made entirely with AI imagery."
While that ad was meant to attack Democrats, another AI ad on Twitter by Ron DeSantis' campaign team is meant to attack former President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump became a household name by FIRING countless people *on television*— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) June 5, 2023
But when it came to Fauci... pic.twitter.com/7Lxwf75NQm
The ad features images of Trump hugging former White House Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci — but those photos are fake. Twitter labeled the imagery as such in response.
Those ads — as well as the overall concept of AI — have some in Washington racing to figure out a solution, but so far there has been little success.
In a meeting of the Federal Election Commission last month, policymakers debated the possibility of implementing new AI rules.
The effort did not pass, with policymakers concluding they don't have the authority — right now — to address it.
Congress could encourage the regulation of AI in politics before the 2024 campaign intensifies further, but so far it has not.
For the moment, that means voters will have to be extra skeptical of campaign commercials in this upcoming presidential election.