Donald Trump Is Just Calling Any Video He Doesn’t Like "AI" Now

He Said, Machine Said

Usually, when discussing the risks that generative AI tools pose to the 2024 election, it's in the context of AI being used to create items of disinformation: stuff like doctored images, fake news sites and deepfaked audio clips, designed to spin false narratives or further existing ones. Of course, these risks are very real — but using generative AI to create content is far from the tech's only threat.

Case in point: former president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday took to Truth Social, the social media app that he started, to denounce compilations of real videos of himself that he doesn't like as AI-generated fakes.

Per Gizmodo, the video mashups in question comprised 32 different clips of the former president and were shown during yesterday's congressional grilling of Robert Hur, the special counsel appointed to investigate President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents. In his final report, handed down last month, Hur described the current president as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory." This description royally pissed off the White House and its allies, and the deeply unflattering video compilations of Trump — who's currently facing criminal charges for his own alleged mishandlings of large amounts of classified documents — were presented by congressional Democrats during the Hur hearing as a means of underscoring the former president's many recent and strange slip-ups.

"The Hur Report was revealed today!" Trump declared on his social media platform in response to the clip. "Artificial Intelligence was used by them against me in their videos of me. Can't do that Joe!"

Except AI wasn't used to fabricate these clips. Each unflattering video — Trump claiming that whales are being murdered by windmills, mumbling incoherently, confusing Biden with former president Barack Obama, and so on — is genuine. Rather than confronting the videos, Trump is using the existence and availability of generative AI to falsely dismiss them as fake.

Fracture Point

It's bizarre and dystopian stuff. What's worse, Trump's AI-abetted tactic benefits from the bleak reality that AI has already been used during this election cycle to create misinformation.

Though this specific AI brush-off was quickly disproven, it may well be true that the more generative AI tools subvert our collective sense of reality, the more difficult it'll be to counter false "AI-did-it" claims of the kind. Or, conversely, it might get harder for officials to defend themselves against real AI misinformation.

In short, very-much-unregulated generative AI tools have already started to cause fractures in the foundation of reality — one that a former American president is seemingly ready to exploit. And like any fracture point, if you keep pressing on it, you risk a full break.

More on AI and the election: MAGA Uses AI to Invent Pictures of Trump With Black People