Think you could spot a deepfaked politician?

In an era where the line between reality and digital fabrication becomes ever more blurred, the concern about deepfakes—especially involving political figures—has surged. A recent study by Jumio, involving more than 2,000 adults from across the UK, brings to light the growing unease surrounding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfakes on the political landscape.

A significant 60% of those surveyed express apprehension about AI and deepfakes influencing future elections. Meanwhile, a mere 33% are confident in their ability to identify a deepfaked video of a politician. This underscores a general unease about distinguishing between genuine and manipulated content, highlighting a potential vulnerability in the electorate’s capacity to form informed opinions.


The study also unveils a shift in public perception towards online media, with 64% of participants now more skeptical of the political content they encounter compared to the last election cycle in 2019. Among the regions, Northern Ireland manifests the highest level of skepticism, with 79% of respondents doubting the credibility of online political information.

“As the UK gears up for elections, it’s crucial we discuss the impact generative AI and deepfakes may have on public discourse,” comments Stuart Wells, Jumio’s Chief Technology Officer. He points out the concerning lack of confidence among the public in identifying fraudulent content online. Wells calls for increased efforts to educate people on recognizing and reporting deepfakes. Additionally, he emphasizes the responsibility of online platforms to fortify their systems against such manipulations, suggesting the adoption of multimodal, biometric-based verification or other innovative deepfake detection solutions.

Interestingly, the rise of generative AI and deepfakes has not drastically altered trust levels in traditional news outlets. While 56% of the respondents report no change in their trust towards print or broadcast news, 25% confess a decrease in faith. However, the distrust is more pronounced when it comes to social media, with four in ten UK residents trusting it less than before the advent of generative AI technologies.

This heightened skepticism naturally leads to a desire for stricter AI regulations. Over half of those surveyed (53%) believe that UK laws on AI do not adequately address the issue, and only 26% trust the government’s ability to regulate this rapidly advancing technology effectively.The findings from Jumio’s study reveal a critical juncture for both digital and political realms. As AI continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the need for enhanced public education on digital literacy, coupled with stronger regulatory frameworks, becomes increasingly apparent. Ensuring that voters can confidently discern real political messages from fabricated ones is essential for safeguarding the integrity of democratic processes. As we progress further into the digital age, the battle against digital deception will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of politics.

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