"It’s fake audio of what Keith is really thinking."

Fake News

A mini scandal has erupted in the bareknuckle world of New York City politics after AI-generated audio went viral this weekend because it deep faked the voice of a politician slamming another colleague, Politico reports.

In the 10-second clip labeled as "Harlem NY politics exposed," the purported voice of New York County Democrats leader Keith L.T. Wright can be heard insulting and cursing Assemblymember Inez Dickens, with the upload describing it as a hot-mic moment.

"Yeah, she’s not running, she’s done. I dug her grave and she rolled into it. Lazy, incompetent — if it wasn’t for her, I’d be in Congress," the purported audio of Wright said, as reported by Politico, which had access to the clip.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, though, Wright said it was fake.

"In an attempt to divide Harlem, someone created AI-generated audio that was misogynist and disrespectful to the legacy of our esteemed Assemblywoman," reads Wright's post. "At a time where over 200,000 Black people have been forced to leave the City, we refuse to let outsiders fracture the unity we’ve built for generations. I renounce these lies and any other attempts to use my legacy to disrespect a daughter of Harlem."

Brave New World

Many pols were hoodwinked by the audio because it sounded like Wright and he "doesn’t shy from cursing and has had political battles with Dickens," Politico says.

"It’s fake audio of what Keith is really thinking," said a consultant to the news outlet.

AI has already been used in politics for tasks such as chatbots for a Pennsylvania election and an AI version of Democrat and Biden challenger Dean Phillips, released for the New Hampshire primary elections.

But those bots are clearly labeled as AI, unlike the Wright deepfake, which was clearly intended to sow drama and discord.

Expect more of this kind of mischief and dirty tricks as the use of AI spreads because they are relatively easy to make and are cheap.

Already, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office is investigating robocalls that deepfaked President Joe Biden's voice during the run up to the state's primary elections. In those calls, a voice that sounds very much like Biden told voters not to vote in the primary.

More on AI politics: Officials Investigating AI-powered Joe Biden Calling People in New Hampshire

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