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Pennsylvania Democrat Rolls Out Chatbot to Robocall Voters

Pennsylvania Democrat Shemaine Daniels’ congressional campaign has begun utilizing an AI chatbot named “Ashley” to robocall voters in the Keystone State. The company behind the AI chatbot claims “The dawn of AI politics is upon us.”

Vice reports that Shemaine Daniels, a Democrat congressional candidate in Pennsylvania, has put a new twist on campaigning by employing an interactive AI chatbot named “Ashley” to robocall voters. This initiative, leading up to the 2024 election, marks a significant shift in the use of AI technology in elections.

Developed by Civox, “Ashley” is the first AI chatbot used in a political campaign. The chatbot is designed for real-time, two-way voice conversations, having already reached thousands of voters in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional district. The Ashley chatbot shows the potential for most Americans will soon engage knowingly or unknowingly with AI entities — quite a few voters had no idea they were actually talking to an AI instead of a person.

The introduction of “Ashley” follows previous controversies in political use of AI, such as New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ employment of AI deepfake tech for automated multilingual messages. While these advancements offer new opportunities, they also bring ethical concerns, particularly regarding AI’s potential biases and the displacement of human jobs.

Voters targeted by the AI robocalls are met with an AI-generated voice stating: “Hello. My name is Ashley, and I’m an artificial intelligence volunteer for Shamaine Daniels’ run for Congress.” Ilya Mouzykantskii, the co-founder of Civox, commented: “The dawn of AI politics is upon us. Civox is thrilled to be the first company in the world to deploy this game-changing voice-based technology, and we’re proud to set the bar high for best practices for this emerging field.”

Daniels’ campaign justifies the use of “Ashley” by highlighting its ability to eliminate the exploitation of human workers, a practice previously seen in political campaigns. However, this also means a shift away from employing human phone bankers, raising questions about the impact on employment in this sector. Daniels wrote in a press statement: “We talk a lot about concerns over the unethical use of AI technology, and we must be vigilant against the dangers it can bring, but we need to also embrace the opportunities this new technology creates.”


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