Utilizing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Pakistan’s detained former Prime Minister Imran Khan was represented at a recent campaign event on Monday through a digitally replicated voice.

This innovative approach enabled a virtual address by Khan, who has been incarcerated since August amidst charges of disclosing classified information — charges he vehemently denies, asserting they are politically motivated to hinder his participation in the upcoming general elections scheduled for February.

The political party he founded, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), leveraged AI to craft a four-minute address from the 71-year-old leader. This address was a centerpiece of a “virtual rally” conducted on social media, spanning from Sunday night into Monday. The rally went ahead despite internet disturbances, which, according to the online monitoring group NetBlocks, align with previous efforts to suppress Khan’s communications.

According to PTI’s statement, their incarcerated leader, Imran Khan, communicated a brief script via his legal team, which was then elaborated into a speech matching his distinctive way of speaking. This script transformed into an audio format, leveraging a cutting-edge tool from AI company ElevenLabs. This technology, known for its capability to generate a “voice clone” using existing speech samples, played a crucial role in this process.

This digitally crafted audio was then showcased at the culmination of a five-hour live-streaming event, featuring speeches by PTI advocates. The event, which was broadcast across various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and others, incorporated the audio with a compilation of historical footage and still images of Khan, creating a dynamic and engaging virtual presence for the former Prime Minister.

The virtual address with AI-generated dialogue was bookended with authentic footage from Imran Khan’s previous addresses. To maintain transparency, periodic captions identified the speech as the “AI voice of Imran Khan based on his notes,” clearly differentiating it from his real voice.

PTI’s US-based social media chief Jibran Ilyas said: “This was a no-brainer for us when Imran Khan is no longer there to actually meet at a political rally. It was to get over the suppression.”

This digital approach comes in the wake of state-imposed media restrictions on Khan, following his brief detention in May which led to widespread protests. The state’s efforts to limit Khan’s media presence have been a point of contention and debate in the country.

Further complicating matters, the online monitoring organization NetBlocks reported a seven-hour disruption to social media platforms beginning late Sunday. This interruption is seen as part of a pattern of internet censorship specifically targeting Khan and his digital outreach.

Via: The Guardian