Arizona newsletter makes Kari Lake deepfake

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Arizona newsletter makes Kari Lake deepfake

The Arizona Agenda, a local newsletter covering state politics, made a deepfake of Kari Lake warning readers about the “terrifying new age” of artificial intelligence (AI) interference in elections.

“Hi, I’m Kari Lake. Subscribe to the Arizona Agenda for hard-hitting, real news and a preview of the terrifying artificial intelligence coming your way in the next election, like this video, which is an AI deepfake the Arizona Agenda made to show you just how good this technology is getting,” Lake appears to say in the video, created by the newsletter.

Lake, a former news anchor who previously ran for Arizona governor, announced her bid for the Senate in October. She is backed by former President Trump and is one of the party’s most prominent election deniers; Lake has not accepted her 2022 gubernatorial election loss and has spent the last several years in court over various challenges to the state’s election procedures.

In the video, the deepfake Lake asks viewers if they realized the video was AI-generated and said in the next six months, the technology is going to “get a lot better.”

“By the time the November election rolls around, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between reality and artificial intelligence,” the video said.

The newsletter warned that the election this fall will be the first time “any idiot with a computer can create convincing videos,” since AI technology has become exceedingly accessible and powerful.

Hank Stephenson, a reporter for the Agenda, wrote that it is “terrifyingly easy” to create an AI-generated video of a politician and “terrifyingly difficult” to spot fake political content.

“We’re out of the age of ‘fake news’ and entering the era of fake reality,” Stephenson wrote.

The newsletter acknowledged the risks of creating disinformation, but said it made the Lake deepfake to show how easy — and free — doing so can be. Stephenson compiled a guide to show readers how to spot the fake content and warned of the “profound implications” that the nearly unregulated technology poses on politics and society.

In response to a request for comment from The Hill, Lake’s team sent a copy of a letter addressed to the Agenda, demanding the immediate removal of the videos from all platforms. The letter states that the newsletter has used Lake’s “name, image, and likeness without her consent in order to generate commercial business.”

Lake’s team demanded the videos be removed within 24 hours or else it will pursue “all available legal remedies” against the news organization.

Stephenson said he has already “received a ton of texts, emails and comments” from readers thanking the Agenda for doing a story on identifying deep fakes.

“People are really hungry for this kind of educational content, and our goal, as always, was to make this fun and informative,” he said in an emailed statement. “We took great care to do this responsibly.”

This story was updated at 3:47 p.m.




Arizona Agenda

Arizona Senate race

Artificial Intelligence

Donald Trump

Kari Lake

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