scorecardThe Trump-DeSantis showdown is now official, and artificial intelligence is right in the middle of it
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The Trump-DeSantis showdown is now official, and artificial intelligence is right in the middle of it

Matthew Loh   

The Trump-DeSantis showdown is now official, and artificial intelligence is right in the middle of it
PoliticsPolitics5 min read
Ron DeSantis (left) and Donald Trump.    Mario Tama/Getty Images; Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Donald Trump on Wednesday posted a video of Ron DeSantis featuring voice-cloning AI.
  • The tongue-in-cheek parody shows DeSantis and Elon Musk speaking to the devil and Adolf Hitler.

The Trump-DeSantis 2024 showdown officially kicked off on Wednesday evening, and artificial intelligence is smack dab in the middle of the political fray.

About a dozen posts into his Truth Social tirade knocking Gov. Ron DeSantis' 2024 campaign launch, former President Donald Trump reposted a video featuring a conversation that clearly deploys voice-cloning AI.

It's not the first time Trump has posted AI-generated content. But the two-minute clip, uploaded on a private Rumble account, is the latest sign — and perhaps the most prominent yet — of AI creeping into the political sphere as a tool to steer narratives or attack opponents.

The video is a parody of DeSantis' glitch-plagued launch on Twitter Spaces.

Both the Florida governor and Elon Musk feature, alongside a sample of Trump's laundry list of people he dislikes — billionaire George Soros, World Economic Forum chair Klaus Schwab, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. The parody is evident from the get-go, with the inclusion of characters like Adolf Hitler, the devil, and the FBI.

"Hi everyone, welcome to our Ron DeSantis Twitter Spaces," Musk's voice says in the clip.

"Hello? Is my microphone working correctly?" Soros' voice interrupts.

What follows next is a chaotic blend of old audio, new voice lines spoken by an unknown person, and AI-generated dialogue that sounds eerily like the people being imitated.

"Everyone just shut the hell up so I can make my announcement, okay?" DeSantis' voice says.

"Would you please shut up already? I'm running for fucking president, okay?" his voice later adds.

"Yeah, we kind of already knew," everyone responds.

Musk's AI-cloned voice even mimics his speech patterns.

"Uh, uh, guys from the FBI, this is not a private call, this is a public Twitter Space, everyone can listen in," the voice says at one point.

At the end of the clip, Trump's voice interjects.

"Hold your horses, Elon! The real president is going to say a few words. The devil, I'm going to kick your ass very soon. Hitler, you're already dead. Dick Cheney, sounds like you'll be joining Hitler very soon," the voice said.

"Klaus Schwab and George Soros, I'm putting both your asses in jail. And Ron DeSanctimonious can kiss my big beautiful 2024 presidential ass. Trump 2024 baby, let's go," Trump's voice continues.

The clip is reminiscent of AI-generated "gaming presidents" memes, which deploy the voices of Trump, President Joe Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton trash-talking each other over "Call of Duty," "Overwatch," and "Fortnite."

Joe Rogan and Musk sometimes feature in such memes as well.

But Trump's newly reposted Twitter Spaces parody comes as politicians around the world slowly start using AI to serve their ends. The Republican National Committee released an ad attacking Biden in April using AI-generated images.

New Zealand's center-right National Party has also been posting AI-generated images on Instagram, from a photo of two nurses to a bizarre version of a Fast and Furious poster.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon said his party was using AI to make "some stock images" for social media, per The New Zealand Herald.

Trump himself shared a clip on May 11 that used voice-cloning AI. It features CNN anchor Anderson Cooper saying the former president was "ripping us a new asshole here on CNN's live presidential town hall."

Avid global attention on generative AI has prompted concerns from cybersecurity and tech experts about its ability to distort the truth and mislead voters when used for political gain.

Trump's DeSantis parody is overtly tongue-in-cheek, and clearly a joke, but fake images and videos can produce immediate consequences if believed. On Monday, a false photo of the Pentagon exploding — suspected to have been at least partially AI-generated — sent the stock market into a dip.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment sent outside regular business hours.