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Trump is not ahead thanks to artificial intelligence

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Trump is not ahead thanks to artificial intelligence

In the race for the White House, which will see the next president of the United States elected in November, there is a photo that causes discussion. Donald Trump is seen celebrating among a group of supporters, hugging two black women. That photo tells a story that doesn’t exist, in the sense that it was created by an artificial intelligence that had been given a simple command: “Create an image of a happy Trump among black electricians.” The image was created by a supporter of the Republican candidate with the aim of help him gain some consensus in two of the groups of voters in which his message is most difficult, namely women and African Americans.

Technically that’s not a photo, in the sense that it does not portray reality, but creates one on purpose, which a photo doesn’t do. And it has at least one unforgivable flaw if one looks at it carefully (which we usually don’t do with photos, so in this case we would be deceived): Trump’s hands are imperfect, vaguely deformed. Details that few notice. The mistake we shouldn’t make, however, is deducing from this episode the fact that Trump is overwhelmingly winning the Republican Party primaries (and has a clear advantage in the polls over the outgoing president, Joe Biden), thanks to his artificial intelligence. Exactly like in his previous victorious run in 2016, when a wise and largely illicit use of social network data you allow him to personalize his message to almost every single voter (hence the Cambridge Analytica scandal). This time too it is easy to think that it will once again be an unscrupulous use of technology that will lead to victory by altering the true will of the people.

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Here, an analysis of this type, as things stand now, is totally unfounded and leads, yes, to Biden’s certain defeat. The outgoing president it’s not behind in the polls because of AI: Trump’s non-photo with African-American women counts as a meme or a cartoon or a propaganda poster; to think that African American women will vote for Trump because of that image means not having any estimate of who will vote.

Long story short, Trump could sensationally return to the White House despite the tax investigations and sex scandals many Americans recognize themselves in him, exactly as happened in Italy with Berlusconi who in 2008 returned to Palazzo Chigi for the third time despite the investigations and scandals; and not only “thanks to the TV”, but because an important part of Italians still recognized themselves in him. Biden is behind not because of a technological gap but because he did not have the foresight to pass the baton to a younger candidate, or because he was not able to also speak to African-American female voters. Can he still do it? Maybe yes, but not blaming artificial intelligence.

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