‘Deepfakes’ of Bollywood movie stars are reportedly being used to influence voters at the ongoing polls Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters wearing masks of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dance as they celebrate on the vote results day for India’s general election at BJP office in Guwahati on May 23, 2019. © Biju BORO / AFP

Claims of Artificial Intelligence (AI) playing a disruptive role in India’s general election have emerged just days after the first phase of polling began on Friday.

According to a Reuters report on Monday, ‘deepfake’ videos have appeared featuring popular Bollywood celebrities Amir Khan and Ranveer Singh criticizing incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The clips – in which AI versions of the stars call on people to vote for the rival Congress Party – were viewed half a million times within a week, the news agency said.

“Their sp

The news outlet underscored that while AI could pose problems for numerous countries during election season, only China and the EU have formulated binding regulations against unethical use of the technology.

New Delhi’s top officials, including Modi himself, warned against the adverse impact of AI during the lead-up to the polls, which will involve more than 900 million voters and run until June 1. In a recent conversation with Bill Gates, the Indian leader cautioned against the dangers of deep fakes and suggested adding measures – such as watermarks – to tackle misleading content.

The Indian government issued an advisory in December mandating that digital and social media platforms communicate content prohibited under IT rules “clearly and precisely” to users.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for Electronics and IT, said officials are “deeply concerned” about the impact of “cross-border actors” using deepfakes to sp

While India has been proactive in creating policies to control the impact of emerging technologies, it is widely deploying AI in sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture. A school in southern India’s Kerala recently introduced the country’s first AI-powered humanoid robot capable of teaching. Modi himself used an AI tool to translate his speech from Hindi to Tamil in real time while addressing an event in Varanasi last year.

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