Pennsylvania candidate first to use AI robot to call voters

December 18, 2023

Reaching prospective voters effectively normally requires a team of campaign staff to make thousands of telephone calls. A Pennsylvania congressional candidate is using an AI robocaller to make those calls.

Robocalls have been around for years but they only offer one-way communication. Earlier this year saw New York Mayor Eric Adams come in for criticism for his AI powered robocalls in different languages. But even those were just broadcast messages delivered via telephone.

Pennsylvania congressional candidate Shamaine Daniels wants prospective voters to be able to ask questions about her campaign and her policies. Daniels didn’t have the funds to hire a team of campaign staff so she just hired Ashley.

Ashley is an AI character created by Civox in partnership with Conversation Labs. Ashley can make thousands of calls to prospective voters every day and enables two-way communication.

Ashley can answer questions about Daniel’s platform and policies in multiple languages. Recipients of the calls are informed that Ashley is an AI tool and that the calls are recorded.

The transcripts of the calls can quickly highlight commonly asked questions and feedback so that Daniels can adjust her messaging.

Ilya Mouzykantskii, the cofounder of Civox, gave a ballpark indication of pricing, saying Ashley was “significantly less expensive than human-paid phone bankers and we are more expensive than making dumb robocalls.”

Ashley is another example of AI technology outpacing regulation. There’s no law saying if or how Daniel’s should be using AI to call prospective voters.

Like any LLM, Ashley doesn’t always get her facts straight. Where does the liability lie when that happens?

Daniels told The Philadelphia Enquirer, “We have to make sure that we are promoting responsible use because, whether I use it or someone else uses it, the technology is here, it’s going to be used broadly.”

Speaking of the need for regulation, Mouzykanskii said, “Civox realizes the interface between Artificial Intelligence and political systems can be manipulated by those with dark designs, and we urge legislators and regulators around the world to pay attention before it’s too late.”

His comments regarding the potential danger his company’s product presents turned more ominous. “Governing AI’s interaction with existing political systems in a post Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) world will be critical to our thriving and, ultimately, survival,” he said.

Mouzykantskii says his company can’t keep up with the demand for their new AI tool. With the upcoming US presidential elections voters can expect a lot more AI-powered robocallers.

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Eugene van der Watt

Eugene comes from an electronic engineering background and loves all things tech. When he takes a break from consuming AI news you'll find him at the snooker table.


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