Former Google CEO warns of AI-fueled misinformation surge in 2024 US election

Eric Schmidt has issued a stark warning about the 2024 US election, highlighting the alarming potential for rampant misinformation using AI.

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In a recent interview with CNBC, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of tech giant Google, sounded the alarm on the upcoming 2024 US election, cautioning that misinformation is poised to spread rampantly. The cause behind this concerning trend, according to Schmidt, is the increasing accessibility of advanced AI tools.

Schmidt also highlighted that the short-term effects of AI would mainly concern misinformation, especially through the use of AI-generated text or deepfakes promoting harmful or false material. Social media companies have also tended to cut staff working in misinformation departments (such as Meta), or have been relaxing their rules regarding election fraud claims, like with Google-owned YouTube, to the dismay of the Biden Administration.

Why does it matter? The former CEO is not the only one emphasising this issue. Experts have recently raised concerns about the potential ramifications of AI in elections. The widespread accessibility of affordable and advanced generative AI tools has resulted in a significant increase in deepfake production, while inadequate measures to counter the spread of malicious disinformation pose serious challenges.

Although Google has been taking recent steps to improve capacity development and digital access in countries like India and Brazil, the potential for long-term damage from AI and social media around democratic processes in the US and worldwide remains.