When Ron DeSantis included footage of digital fighter jets flying overhead in a recent political ad, some assumed that the Florida governor had used AI to create the effect. However, a person familiar with the matter clarified that the ad did not involve AI, but rather used traditional video editing techniques to insert the jets.
Political ads have long used digital editing tools to enhance their impact, but the growing entry of AI-powered editing is a point of contention. While AI-generated content can be impressive, it often lacks the consistency and smoothness that professional editing software can provide. So, the campaign’s decision to use traditional editing tools seems logical.
AI-generated content has indeed found its way into political ads before. The Republican National Committee released a 30-second ad using AI-generated images to depict a dystopian future if President Joe Biden were to be reelected—images of China invading Taiwan, migrants attempting to cross the US border, and soldiers lining the streets of a shuttered San Francisco.
However, the use of AI in political campaigns raises valid concerns around ethics and transparency. Representative Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) recently introduced legislation that would require the disclosure of AI-generated content in political ads, arguing that existing laws don’t go far enough in protecting Americans from the potential disruptions brought about by rapid AI deployment.
Clarke’s concerns highlight the broader debate about whether AI should be embraced wholeheartedly in politics or whether its potential dangers warrant caution. On one hand, AI technology can create captivating visuals and engaging content for political promotions. On the other hand, there are valid concerns about manipulation, misinformation, and the erosion of trust in political communication.
As AI continues to develop and its use becomes more widespread, political campaigns will face the delicate balancing act of leveraging technology to connect with voters while addressing concerns about the potential negative impacts on democracy. With both the power to engage and the potential to deceive, AI’s role in political advertising calls for striking the right balance between innovation and integrity.
In the case of Ron DeSantis’ ad, digital jets flying overhead might have garnered attention and sparked conversation, but ultimately, the choice to use traditional editing tools demonstrates that AI isn’t always the most appropriate technology for every situation. As AI becomes increasingly prevalent, clear guidelines and thoughtful discourse will be essential in navigating the future of political advertising.