AI in Political Advertising: Expanding Capabilities and Addressing Concerns

Disinformation concerns may be growing over the use of AI in the 2024 U.S. elections, but that isn’t stopping AI voice cloning startups from getting into the political game. One such startup is Instreamatic, an AI audio/video ad platform based in Boca Raton, Florida. Instreamatic recently raised a $6.1 million Series A funding round in 2021 and is now expanding its capabilities into the wild world of political advertising.

Instreamatic’s solution allows candidate campaigns to quickly generate highly-targeted AI-driven contextual video and audio ads. These ads, which feature voiceovers rather than talking head videos, can adapt to changing events or locations. For example, candidates, like Barack Obama, can alter any audio or video political ad by replicating a voice without needing to go into a studio for re-recording.

AI-Powered Contextual Ads

Instreamatic’s generative voice AI product, which has been available to brands and agencies since last March, offers exciting capabilities. From a single completed ad, the AI-powered voiceovers can automatically create an unlimited number of ad versions. These versions can include personalized elements, such as the audience’s location, the time of day, the app or platform where they receive the ad, or the nearest store. This level of personalization and context is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of ad spend.

“Contextual ads always outperform generic ads, so it makes a lot of sense in terms of increasing the effectiveness of your ad spend.”

– Stas Tushinskiy, CEO and co-founder of Instreamatic

However, the use of AI in 2024 U.S. election campaigns is raising concerns about potential disinformation. A recent ABC News report highlighted Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign efforts, which included AI-generated images and audio of Donald Trump. The use of generative AI, whether through chatbots or deepfakes, is predicted to make the 2024 US elections a ‘hot mess,’ according to Nathan Lambert, a machine learning researcher at the Allen Institute for AI.

Addressing Disinformation and Ethical Concerns

Instreamatic CEO and co-founder, Stas Tushinskiy, affirms that the company has implemented measures to ensure their product is not misused for election disinformation. Tushinskiy emphasizes that for any campaign, the client must confirm they have permission to use the voice. Additionally, the political advertising offering will not be available to everyone. Instreamatic will be directly involved in campaign creation to prevent unintended misuse.

“We don’t want to get caught in the middle of something we didn’t intend the platform to be used for. If there were problems with political ads, they would be deleted immediately, and if necessary, we’ll make a public safety statement.”

– Stas Tushinskiy, CEO and co-founder of Instreamatic

Tushinskiy clarifies that Instreamatic is not revolutionizing the world of political ads with the intent of manipulating election outcomes. Instead, the company’s offering automates a tedious manual process that already exists. By eliminating the need for candidates or voice talent to spend hours in a studio, and for others to upload and check for human errors, Instreamatic compresses the process from six to eight weeks down to just a few minutes.

Despite the potential benefits, experts highlight the peril of AI-generated content in political advertising. Currently, there are no federal rules governing the use of AI-generated ads in political campaigns. The absence of clear guidelines raises questions about who is responsible for setting the rules. However, Tushinskiy assures that Instreamatic is focused on providing tools rather than joining in unethical practices. They aspire to stop and expose any misinformation or unethical usage of their platform.

“If we were the ones that created misinformation, I wouldn’t want to be in this business process. We’re just giving them the tools to be more effective.”

– Stas Tushinskiy, CEO and co-founder of Instreamatic
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