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AI reshapes Indian political campaigns ahead of polls

Generative artificial intelligence is making a serious impact on political campaigns in India, with instances of AI-generated content being shared by parties on both sides of the political divide. These include K T Rama Rao of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) campaigning for the Congress, audio and video messages featuring deceased leaders J Jayalalitha and M Karunanidhi, and a viral song video featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As India heads to the Lok Sabha polls, GenAI-driven campaigns are gaining traction, especially given that over half the population uses at least one social media networking site. “The introduction of GenAI in poll campaigns has led to a significant increase in the re-personification of candidates,” noted Preetham Venkky, chief digital officer at DDB Mudra Group, a marketing agency.

Echoing the observation, Diggaj Mogra, a political consultant and director at Jarvis Technology and Strategy Consulting, said personalised audio messages are in high demand due to their relatability, scalability, and cost efficiency.

GenAI-driven content in politics has witnessed a sharp uptick since October-November 2023, after a few videos, including one featuring the late Karunanidhi, went viral recently. “Initially, we used to get only 1-2 requests in a year. But during October-November last year, such requests surged to more than a hundred,” said Divyendra Singh Jadoun, founder, The Indian Deepfaker, a synthetic media company.

Overcoming the language barrier
The Indian Deepfaker offers voice-cloning services in 117 different languages. Jadoun explained: “The calls are made by a conversational AI agent, giving the impression that the leader is making a direct conversation with the voter, by using his/her name.”

With a diverse voter base and a wide range of local issues and interests, AI-generated content is helping politicians to be omnipresent.
“Voice cloning can now address each issue mentioned in the manifesto, removing language and knowledge barriers,” observed Venkky.

Vaibhav Walia, chairman of the communication war-room 2024 for the Congress, revealed the plans to translate Rahul Gandhi’s speeches into almost eight different languages using GenAI and machine learning (ML). He added that AI is being used not only for content creation but also for reaching the target audience. Business Standard

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