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Ensuring the Authenticity of Your Vote in the AI-Driven Economy

The year 2024 marks a significant global event as more than 2 billion people prepare to participate in elections across major democracies like the US, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the European Union. Amidst this widespread democratic exercise, a singular question unifies them all—the authenticity of their vote.

Since the pioneering digital campaign that propelled Barack Obama, the first black US president, into office, politics has been significantly influenced by technology. However, 2024 heralds a new era—not just dominated by digital tools, but by the omnipresence of artificial intelligence (AI). 

Welcome to the age of the "Question Economy," where AI's efficacy, exemplified by systems like ChatGPT, relies on posing the right questions and providing precise prompts. This can influence voters.

Related: BJP boosts Congress visibility, Kejriwal 2nd most discussed leader after Modi in Election 2024

Amplifying Political Messages via Influencers 

In this 'Questions Economy', politicians and media seek innovative ways to engage with voters. 

The emerging medium of engagement is the creators and influencers economy, estimated to reach INR 3,375 crore by 2026 in India, growing at a CAGR of 18%. (Source EY report on influencer marketing).

The recent engagement of the Indian government with creators and their facilitation underscores that influencers will play a pivotal role as propagandists. These creators will drive engagement metrics clicks, and shares perpetuating a cycle fuelled further by AI.

Triggering New Trends in Media and Communication

Media, traditionally perceived as bastions of truth and trust, now grapple with an era dominated by AI-driven algorithms. Platforms employing AI to curate content and shape user experiences inundate individuals with tailored information, often reinforcing existing beliefs and biases. 

This phenomenon, coupled with the pursuit of engagement metrics, provides fertile ground for manipulation and polarization. Initiatives like the partnership between FB and PTI aim to curb misinformation at its source, reflecting a concerted effort to maintain integrity in media.

For example, 'Power of Print'  a campaign by The Times of India Group, invites creative minds to build an impactful print campaign. This is again a powerful partnersInitiatives like the partnership between FB and PTI aim to curb misinformation with the Election Commission of India inviting communication/creative agencies to come up with an award-winning campaign for a cause- “I vote for sure”

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Nurturing Responsible Consumption

As citizens navigating this digital landscape, fostering responsible content consumption is imperative. Conducting a thorough audit of our content consumption habits and seeing how we source news is the first step. Embracing diverse perspectives and honing skills to discern fake news is vital. 

Simple steps like pausing to verify information before sharing can combat misinformation. PR professionals play a crucial role in educating friends, families, and clients on responsible consumption practices.

In the age of AI and the Questions Economy, elections teeter between innovation and vulnerability. Responsible consumption, coupled with collaborative efforts between civil society, government, and tech companies, will navigate this landscape.

By embracing authenticity and discernment, we can ensure the integrity of democratic processes in the digital age. And as a former Meta colleague of mine says Katie Harbath who led the elections work– says this election - is “ Panic Responsibly “by asking the right questions.

Amrit Ahuja is a veteran communication consultant who was previously director of communications at Facebook India 

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