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Republican Appears to Use AI Images of Himself in Election Material

A state Senate candidate in Tennessee appeared to misrepresent himself in his campaign with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Republican Charlie Cooper has come under scrutiny after posting images on his social media accounts that appear to be generated by AI. The controversy erupted this week when followers noticed peculiarities in several campaign images that Cooper shared, prompting accusations of misleading the public.

Cooper has positioned himself as a staunch advocate for transparency and traditional values, but his perceived recent use of AI-generated images on his personal and election accounts has sparked a debate about authenticity and ethics in political campaigning.

Images from Charlie Cooper’s Facebook accounts appearing to show AI-generated images of him, May 2024.

Facebook/Charlie Cooper for TN State Senate – District 24/Facebook/Charlie Cooper for TN State Senate – District 24

The images in question show Cooper looking younger, leaner, fitter and with more hair than in the images that appear to be untouched. Eagle-eyed social media users also quickly pointed out other inconsistencies and signs of AI generation, such as things looking unnatural or oddly proportioned.

A Facebook user calling himself Jack Smith commented below one of the Facebook pictures of Cooper, saying: “The candidate for ‘decency, honesty and honor’ is using fake AI generated photos.”

Another picture, showing Cooper wearing two watches, has since been removed.

AI has been used in several recent political campaigns and has sparked a broader conversation about its role in politics. As AI technology becomes more advanced and accessible, its use in creating content—from images to speeches—is likely to increase. This raises important questions about the ethical implications and the potential for misuse and follows a recent “fake” AI video with Joe Biden.

“It’s going to be harder and harder to try to detect a fake [so] what news organizations need to do is flip it,” Louis Steinberg, former chief technology officer of TD Ameritrade and the founder of CTM Insights, a cybersecurity research lab, recently told Newsweek. “Don’t try to detect what’s fake. Instead, focus on what’s real.

“Weaponized disinformation has always been a part of politics, but this year AI-generated deep fakes have reached a tipping point, becoming so real and effective that they likely will end up changing election outcomes across the globe.”

As reported by Heartland Signal, Cooper will challenge incumbent state Senator John Stevens in the August 4 primary to determine the Republican nominee for Tennessee’s 24th Senate District.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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