As Australia gears up for its next federal election in 2025, the role of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), is poised to take centre stage in shaping the political landscape.
AI’s influence on elections is not a novel concept, but its applications are evolving rapidly. Commentators have warned that political parties are increasingly leveraging AI to analyse vast amounts of data, enabling them to understand voter behaviour, preferences, and sentiments. This data-driven approach allows parties to tailor their campaigns with unprecedented precision, targeting specific demographics and issues that resonate with voters.
This use of AI will be particularly prominent for the elections via social media. With the proliferation of online platforms, political campaigns are finding new avenues to connect with voters. AI algorithms can assess user data to predict individual preferences and deliver personalised content. This raises concerns about the potential for echo chambers and the manipulation of public opinion, as voters may be exposed predominantly to information that aligns with their existing beliefs.
Moreover, this may result in AI enabling misinformation. With the spread of fake news and deepfake technology, AI-powered tools are becoming essential for fact-checking and ensuring the integrity of political discourse. However, the challenge lies in striking a balance between preventing misinformation and respecting freedom of speech.
While there are recent reforms to IT legislation, it is clear that the use of AI in political campaigns must be subject to strict supervision. Striking the right balance is crucial to harnessing the benefits of AI without compromising the democratic principles to ultimately lead to a just Australian electoral process.