Pakistani opposition hijacks AI, recreates incarcerated ex-PM Khan’s speech

  • Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech was delivered using artificial intelligence (AI), a move which could potentially boost his political party’s chances in the upcoming elections, according to analysts.
  • The speech was viewed by more than a million people on social media and was confirmed by Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), as being AI-generated. Legal implications surrounding the use of AI in this manner remain uncertain.

Imran Khan, who is currently serving time in prison for charges of corruption, has been largely cut off from the outside world since his imprisonment in August. With numerous other legal cases pending, Khan is unlikely to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls slated for February. Despite these impediments, the AI-generated speech demonstrated Khan’s popularity and the technological prowess of his party, PTI.

“The use of artificial intelligence in Pakistan is something new, and even I was not expecting that the PTI could use it ahead of elections in an effort to mobilize supporters,” commented Lahore-based computer engineer, Umayr Hassan. Analysts also noted that the AI rendition of Khan’s voice could potentially sway the election in PTI’s favor. However, they also cautioned that it remains to be seen how the government will respond to the AI-orchestrated audio.

Unsettling questions regarding legalities surround the AI-fueled speech. Azim Chaudhry, an Islamabad-based political analyst, pointed out that “the big question is whether Imran Khan violated any laws, as no criminal can directly or indirectly address such rallies under the law.” Regardless of the legal uncertainties, the voice replicating Khan in the AI-generated audio was heard urging people to vote for PTI in the upcoming elections, a call to action that reached a massive audience.

With only around 20 million of Pakistan’s 128 million eligible voters using social media, the potential impact of this tech-savvy strategy could be significant. The surprising use of AI in this politically charged context not only showcases PTI’s technical abilities but also underscores the evolving role of technology in modern political strategies.