Jailed Pakistani Leader Campaigns for Top Spot with Voice-Cloned Ads

It’s not the first time AI has been employed in a political campaign, but it’s the first campaign ad done for a candidate who is behind bars. The ex-prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s political party released a four-minute video on Sunday that used AI-voice cloning technology to copy his voice. Khan has been in prison since August for illegally selling state gifts.

“In the video, which aired during a ‘virtual rally’ in Pakistan, the dubbed audio is accompanied by a caption that states, ‘AI voice of Imran Khan based on his notes.’ Jibran Ilyas, a social media leader for Khan’s party (known as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI), posted the video on X.”

According to The Guardian, Khan sent PTI a script that was dubbed into audio using software from the AI company ElevenLabs, which makes a text-to-speech tool and an AI voice generator.

“This was a no-brainer for us, when Imran Khan is no longer there to actually meet at a political rally,” Ilyas told The Guardian. “It was to get over the suppression.”

Reaction from Khan supporters on social media has been positive. The five-hour virtual rally gained over half a million views on YouTube and was streamed by thousands on other social media platforms. Despite government efforts to keep citizens from seeing the virtual rally by cutting off access to Facebook, Instagram, X, and YouTube.

Could a similar event happen in the United States by a disgraced former president behind bars? Time will tell.

read more at theverge.com