A new campaign ad from the Ron DeSantis Super PAC, Never Back Down, has dove headfirst into the artificial intelligence controversy. The spot features an “audio recording” of Donald Trump attacking Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. There’s just one small problem, Trump never spoke the words in the ad.
Politico has confirmed that Never Back Down used AI to generate the “recording” of Trump. Granted, the text is pulled from a Truth Social post written by the former president, the AI audio plunges the campaign ad into murky, ethical waters:
Political ads have used impersonation before, and the Trump-generated voice in the Never Back Down ad does not sound entirely natural. Still, the spot highlights what could be the next frontier of campaign advertising: The use of AI-generated content to produce increasingly difficult to identify, so-called deepfakes.
The $1 million spot that will run across Iowa is intended to both highlight Trump’s disrespect for his party members as well as weaken him in the primary state. The DeSantis campaign recently sent out a secret memo touting its new strategy of building momentum in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. An AI ad is certainly one way to go about it.
As for how the Trump campaign is reacting to the controversial campaign spot, they are understandably not thrilled. It takes some real effort to make Trump look like the victim in any situation, yet somehow DeSantis’ people pulled it off. Nice work?
“The blatant use of AI to fabricate President Trump’s voice is a desperate attempt by Always Back Down and Jeff Roe to deceive the American public because they know DeSanctimonious’ campaign is on life support,” a senior Trump advisor told Politico. “After losing big donors and slashing their staff, they have now outsourced their work to AI just like they would like to outsource American jobs to China.”
You can see the AI-generated DeSantis ad below: