Launching the AI Political Archive

July 8, 2024  ·   News

Through online submissions and research by our team, this new joint project seeks to track the full range of uses of generative AI across local, state, and national races in 2024.

An image identified three AI-generated images in a Ron DeSantis political ad.

Credit: VERIFY

There’s been significant coverage about how generative AI could impact the 2024 election, with a particular focus on how nefarious actors could use the technology to produce disinformation at scale. But so far, we’ve seen just a few examples, which have been quickly spotted and debunked.

Today, NYU's Center for Social Media and Politics (CSMaP), the American Association of Political Consultants Foundation (AAPCF), and UNC's Center on Technology Policy (CTP) launched a new resource — the AI Political Archive — which seeks to go deeper by tracking the full range of uses of generative AI across local, state, and national races in 2024.

Although national elections receive far more attention, campaigns up and down the ticket will likely use generative AI. The AI Political Archive will focus on state and local races and aim to capture a wider breadth of AI use, ranging from not only malicious deepfakes but also benign uses in other political communications.

“There’s a lot of concern, some that is overrated, some of it underrated, but the thing that we should really be more concerned about is what’s happening in down-ballot races,” CTP's Scott Babwah Brennen told Politico's Weekly Score newsletter. “There’s so much less attention given to local and state elections, and we have much less sense of what’s going on there.”

What makes this project unique is our partnership with the AAPC Foundation, a non-partisan organization with a broad membership base across both political parties. The archive will be populated with examples both from our own research and from submissions from consultants willing to share how they're using AI in campaigns. All submissions will be reviewed, validated, and categorized by the research team.

“It is our hope that this comprehensive view will help ensure that as an industry organization that sets standards and best practices, that we can stay ahead of the curve by seeing where the industry is going,” AAPCF’s Julie Sweet told Politico. “Having this comprehensive look really builds trust in not just the technology, but the industry and the political advertising more broadly that can deploy the technology.”

“Our goal is for the archive to provide a unique and useful dataset for journalists, academics, policymakers, and political consultants to better understand and study the role of generative AI in elections,” added CSMaP Executive Director Zeve Sanderson.

See the AI Political Archive website to learn more about the project and the submission process.