Throughout Pakistan’s electoral campaign, Imran Khan, the former prime minister, has remained incarcerated, barred from participating in what analysts deem one of the nation’s least credible general elections in its 76-year history.
Despite his confinement, Khan has been galvanizing his supporters through a series of speeches delivered using artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic his voice. This technologically adept approach represents a strategic maneuver by his party to navigate a crackdown orchestrated by the military.
The minute-long video shows historical images and footage of Imran Khan with his slightly robotic voice in the background. The video also bears the disclaimer of being AI-generated. The speech says:
I had full confidence that you would all come out to vote. You fulfilled my faith in you, and your massive turnout has stunned everybody.
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In the address, Mr. Khan’s A.I. voice refuted the victory assertion made by his rival, Nawaz Sharif, and implored supporters to uphold the triumph.
Amid mounting apprehensions regarding the utilization of AI and its capacity for deception, especially within electoral contexts, Mr. Khan’s videos serve as a case in point illustrating how AI can be leveraged to bypass suppression. However, according to experts, they also amplify concerns regarding its potential hazards.
Toby Walsh, a professor at the University of New South Wales said:
In this case, it’s for a good end, perhaps an end we’d support — someone who’s locked up on trumped-up charges of corruption being able to speak to his supporters. But at the same time, it’s undermining our belief in the things we see and hear.
In 2022, Mr. Khan, renowned for his charisma as a former cricket icon, was removed from his position of authority and subsequently imprisoned the following year. He faced allegations of divulging state secrets among other charges. Both he and his supporters have asserted that military officials engineered his removal from office, an accusation vehemently denied by the military leadership.