Jan 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Top House Democrat seeks DOJ probe of AI-generated Biden robocalls

Rep. Joseph Morelle. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

A leading House Democrat is urging the Department of Justice to open an investigation into an AI-generated robocalls featuring President Biden's voice urging New Hampshire Democrats not to vote in Tuesday's primary.

Why it matters: The government is trying to keep pace with and regulate rapidly advancing AI technology, particularly when it comes to areas like advertising and the spread of information.

Driving the news: The robocalls, reported by NBC News, used an imitation of Biden's voice to urge New Hampshire voters to "save your vote for the November election."

  • "Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again. Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday," it said.
  • A spokesperson for Biden's write-in campaign in New Hampshire told Axios' April Rubin the calls were "deep fake disinformation designed to harm Joe Biden, suppress votes, and damage our democracy."
  • The New Hampshire state attorney general's office is investigating the matter, according to NBC.

The latest: House Administration Committee ranking member Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.), in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, urged the DOJ to "immediately" open an investigation into the robocalls.

  • "This clear bid to interfere in the New Hampshire primary demands a thorough investigation and a forceful response from federal officials to deter further AI-based attacks that will disrupt American democracy and disenfranchise American voters," he wrote.

The big picture: Morelle's letter comes as lawmakers in both parties and chambers are rushing to try to craft regulations to minimize the harmful effects of the recent explosion in AI development.

  • Morelle, in his letter, said: "If Congress can strengthen law enforcement's ability to detect and prevent AI-based attempts to subvert our elections, we look forward to working with you to identify and achieve any meaningful and well-defined standards to protect our democracy."
  • The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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