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Deepfake of imprisoned former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan declares election victory

Deepfake of imprisoned former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan declares election victory


February 12, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan declared victory in Saturday's national elections using an AI-produced generative deepfake video and synthetic voice. Khan spent the campaign trail in prison and was banned from participating in the election, but he has used synthetic media to deliver campaign speeches and now a victory speech using the startup's ElevenLabs synthetic audio technology to create a voice clone.

Synthetic speaker

In the AI-generated video shared on Saturday, Khan's voice is heard proclaiming victory as other parties declare their own victory. Khan was ousted and jailed last year on charges he denies. He claims the army orchestrated his expulsion, which he denies. His voice clone Ai told his followers to defend victory.

During the election, officials blocked Khan's candidates from campaigning and censored media coverage. In response, the PTI held online rallies and used platforms like YouTube. The party turned to generative AI late in the campaign, using synthetic voice technology to recreate Khan's voice based on notes smuggled out of prison. Khan provided the outline of the text, which was then fleshed out by members of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in a final script. The team used archival samples of Khan's past speeches and ElevenLabs' synthetic audio engine to create a model of Khan's voice that could mimic the former prime minister's sound and rhetorical style. Viewers were informed through captions that the message used his digitally recreated voice.

Deepfake refrain

Khan's use of synthetic media for political purposes is becoming an increasingly prevalent trend, especially with tools like ElevenLabs and other voice cloning services. While Khan and New York Mayor Eric Adams have deliberately cloned their voices, with Adams deploying a generative AI voice clone of himself speaking multiple languages ​​in a series of automated calls to voters, others are using technology for more underhanded political maneuvering.

Robocalls to New Hampshire voters earlier this year used ElevenLabs to create a deepfake version of President Biden in an attempt to suppress turnout in the state's primary elections. An investigation traced the calls to a telecommunications provider, Lingo, which forwarded them on behalf of Life Corporation. The FCC issued a cease and desist order, followed by an outright ban on deepfake robocalls. Deepfake technology in politics has also prompted OpenAI, Google and other developers to come up with strategies to limit the misuse of LLMs. Most have agreed to a set of safety and accountability principles. OpenAI even banned a custom GPT indirectly officially endorsed by Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips.

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses supporters from prison via deepfake generative AI voice clone [Report]

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Eric Hal Schwartz is the editor and podcast producer for Voicebot.AI. Eric has been a professional writer and editor for over a dozen years, specializing in stories about the interactions between science and technology, business and society. Eric is based in New York.

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