In the rapidly evolving world of technology and artificial intelligence (AI), the concept of free speech takes on new dimensions. On WKIM's morning show on July 17th, 2023, host Ditch and guest Raven Harrison engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about the implications of AI on free speech in the context of the upcoming 2024 elections. Let's delve into the highlights of this intriguing conversation.
WKIM July 17th, 2023 with Raven Harrison
Raven Harrison, a seasoned analyst, joined WKIM's morning show to dive into the potential impact of AI and automation on the democratic process. The discussion revolved around the ways in which AI can expedite response times and transform average individuals into content creators. Harrison explained that political parties now have the ability to quickly generate counter-videos, criticising their opponents even before they finish their speeches. This instantaneous response time alters the dynamics of politics and propels the idea of content creation to a new level.
- DITCH: 6:41 Memphis morning news time here. News talk 98 9. I'm ditch. There's Tim Van Horn joining us once again on the phone. Raven Harrison. Raven, how you doing this morning?
- Raven Harrison: I'm doing great. It's Monday. Let's get it.
- DITCH: Boy, no kidding, man. Let's get after it. Let's talk about the 2024 elections and how as as we forge toward this brave new world of AI and the robots doing everything for us. How is this going to affect our elections?
- Raven: Well, I think I saw a movie about this. Yeah. So how it's going to affect our our election specifically is it's on a few different levels. This is a really complicated topic. You know, instead of calling it, you know, you know, it should be automatic information, automatic irritant. So what it's going to do is it's going to drop the response time and it's going to allow the average person to become a content creator. And what I mean by that is the best way to explain it is when you look at what happened, Joe Biden announced he's running for reelection within minutes. Okay, the Republicans had AI generate a counter video to that, which basically what it's doing is it's pulling all of this information off the Internet and putting it together in a targeted message to voters, which has taken the response time from days down to minutes. So literally they can criticize him before you've even finished his speech. Now, that's what we're we're looking at. We're looking at input responses.
- Tim Van Horn: Do we trust AI to fact check? And also didn't before AI, didn't we just get Marco Rubio to do that for Republicans?
- Raven: Pretty much, you know, we've got a lot of those standing in line to do that. But yeah, the issue with that is, you know, now we've got the lines kind of blurred with with free speech, because campaign speech is protected. So now we barely have regulators in place for that. But it allows anybody that means you can be a content creator, because it is these programs that will allow you to pull this negative information and then instantly craft a response. Do you remember when we were in school and we got insulted and you're like, Oh, man, I wish I had said this. I wish I had come back with that. Well, that's where we are right now. It'll be instantaneous.
- DITCH: Wow. Raven Harrison joining us on Memphis Morning News. And that makes for an interesting dynamic because the October surprise seems like that that is a thing of the past. Now, there's a surprise every other week. And on top of that, you have political analysts who have who have become more and more seasoned to that. But now you throw on another surprise that could happen at any given time.
- Raven: You can. And it's in the hands of the average person. So what you're looking at is Republicans had a big problem. And I support this of mail harvesting and ballot harvesting and all of these things, stuffing, uh, mailboxes. I mean, that was a problem in the 2020 election. There's no way around that. But now we're going to substitute that with basically putting this messaging instant response, low disclosure requirements in the hand of pretty much anybody. And, uh, isn't that what they were talking about with, you know, Zuckerberg's and in $400 million to influence an election? Well, this is going to be in the hands of tech giants and, uh, media entities. And we're, we're looking at a recipe for disaster. This is high, can level disaster.
- Tim: Here's maybe the question out of all of this. Where does the first amendment end or does it end when it comes to artificially generated free speech? Does it stop when it's not a human? Or does it continue because the human is the one that was asked for the speech? And I'm not - Raven: Exactly. No, you are spot on the target with this. This is where we are in gray areas because now we're talking about, you know, who is liable when this comes? Is it the computer who's generated? It's the person on the end of it. You know, people always say it's not who cast about who counts the ballot. So when we're taking these levels, this is another layer to take it out of the hands of we, the people, and they have already been very, very left and covering this because campaign speech is protected. And so they have been, the course has been very, very ginger with this and allowing things that were really, really in the gray areas to go forward because they don't want to infringe upon the free speech. But then we've got also rulings coming out of the Supreme Court telling Biden, you can't keep censoring conservatives. And he's like, no, reconsider. I mean, I need to be able to, to, to censor them. So we are in a very, very dangerous area. You are correct. Where do the rights stop and start and for who?
- Tim: And also, do you think AI might help Mike Pence answer questions from Tucker Carlson better?
- Raven: No, I think that he's destined to basically torpedo himself whenever he's, he's got the opportunity. I can't think of anybody to watch their career implode in such a faster time than Mike Pence did with Tucker Carlson.
- Tim: Yeah. Now, single handedly in that 60 seconds, it was, it was over. The, the thing about AI, Raven, is it does, it is initiated by humans. AI is, there's somebody programming AI. It, it, it, it, it gathers information that is presented by humans. And it's, it's, it's such a, a, it's scary. I mean, I, I get it. The medical field really seems to be the, the initial beneficiary of potential, you know, benefits of AI. But we use to are talking about stuff like the First Amendment and, and, and major elections or elections in general, and the involvement that AI has, it's, well, we're going to have to really slow the roll on this. Don't you think?
- Raven: I think so, but you, you bought up a very, very, you know, interesting point. If this is happening in medical, a lot of what happens with medical care has to do with ethics. It has to do with, you know, their oath and, and do no harm. Do you want, when you're in the hospital, do you want a computer evaluating you to see if the, statistically, if you should be saved, if your percentages don't meet the requirement? And then for this, if you've got someone whose content is coming from multiple different locations, where are you going to go? If there's a problem with how are the courts going to set this out? When you could literally have content from all over the world within a second, from multiple sources that you may not be able to identify. So we are in a dark area with that. And I do think that this is not an area we should go, be going into, especially with our elections.
- DITCH: All right, great. All right, Raven Harris, and thanks for the conversation this morning. You got us going and thinking about something that maybe we hadn't thought about, but we need to appreciate it, Raven.
- Raven: Thank you.
The implications of AI on free speech and political discourse are profound. With the advent of AI-generated content, the traditional October surprise might become a thing of the past, as surprises and counter-messages can now emerge at any given time. Moreover, the legal boundaries and liability associated with AI-generated free speech raise complex questions. Where should the boundaries of the First Amendment lie when it comes to computer-generated content? These questions become even more challenging considering recent arguments surrounding censorship and free speech.
The discussion on WKIM shed light on the pressing need for further exploration and regulation of AI-generated content in relation to free speech. As advancements in AI continue, it becomes increasingly crucial to address its potential impact on the democratic process and the dissemination of information. To ensure a fair and transparent election process, policymakers, tech giants, and media entities must collaborate to establish frameworks that protect the integrity of free speech while also safeguarding against manipulation and the spread of misinformation.
In conclusion, the WKIM morning show conversation offers valuable insights into the intersection of AI, free speech, and elections. It serves as a reminder that as technology advances, it is essential to critically analyze the implications and prioritize the protection of democratic values in the digital age.