Deepfake Audio of Michal Šimečka Rocks Slovakian Election Scene

Deepfake Audio of Michal Šimečka Rocks Slovakian Election Scene

Slovakia became the target of a serious case of political interference caused by AI. The internet was flooded with deepfake audio recordings showing compromising talks between influential politicians shortly before the election.

Two days before the Slovakian elections, a recording was posted online. The elections made resounding history, though not for the right reasons. A video with an audio clip that allegedly featured Monika Tódová and Michal Šimečka circulated on social media networks. Monika Tódová is a well-known journalist from the independent news platform Denník N, and Michal Šimečka is the chairman of the Progressive Slovakia party.

Both politicians appeared to be plotting how to rig the elections by buying votes from the country’s marginalized Roma minority.

Denouncing the recording as fake

Immediately, Šimečka and Denník N denounced the audio as fake. Additionally, the fact-checking department of the news agency AFP said the audio showed signs of being manipulated using AI.

Significantly, the recording was posted online during the 48-hour moratorium ahead of the polls opening. At this time, media outlets and politicians are supposed to stay silent.

With this, the post was difficult to debunk under Slovakia’s election rules. The post exploited a loophole in Meta’s manipulated media policy as it was an audio recording. Meta’s manipulated media policy detects only fake videos where a person has been edited to say words they never said.

Also read: Voice Actors Outraged Over Sag-Aftra’s AI Deal for Game Voices

Moreover, the election was a tough one between the two frontrunners. Amazingly, both aspirants had opposing visions for Slovakia. At the end of the elections, the Progressive Slovakia party lost.

The deep fake is thought to be one of the first examples in the European Union (EU) of artificial intelligence used to manipulate the likeness of a journalist. The abuse of such tools will be dangerous, as it will smear and discredit the media.

AI misinformation: a threat to democracy

Misleading information by artificial intelligence (AI) threatens to erode democracy and poses the biggest risk to the global economy. This was contained in a report by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Fake news and disinformation powered by AI is emerging as a risk as billions of people in a large number of countries will have their elections this year. This includes major economies like the United States, Britain, Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Pakistan.

In the report, the international forum added that a range of environmental risks are part of the long-term threats. The report was based on a survey of about 1,500 experts, industry executives, and policymakers. It was released ahead of the annual gathering of CEOs and world leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Additionally, the report ranks fake news and misinformation as the most serious risks over the next couple of years. They also highlighted how rapid technological advances can create new challenges or worsen already existing ones.

Significantly, the authors expressed their fear about the rise of generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT. According to the report, the creation of sophisticated synthetic content that can be used to manipulate people will not be limited to people with special skills.

However, AI will be a hot topic at the Davos meeting held next week. The meeting is expected to include leaders of tech companies, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and key industry players. AI industry, like Meta’s Chief AI Scientist, Yann LeCun.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.