New Partnership Introduces Innovative Approach to Robocalling
Democratic candidate Ashley Daniels has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Civox, introducing a first-of-its-kind political campaign tool. This innovative tool has already completed over 1,000 calls with likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania’s 10th House district, which includes the state capital, Harrisburg.
Humanlike Responses without Canned Dialogue
Unlike traditional robocallers, Ashley employs generative AI technology to provide immediate humanlike responses to voter questions. Developed by Civox in collaboration with Conversation Labs, the tool has undergone rigorous testing to ensure accurate answers regarding Daniels’ policies and what sets her apart from other candidates in the race.
A Machine-Like Voice Preferred by Call Recipients
The founders of Ashley decided to give the tool a machine-like voice based on feedback from internal testing. They found that call recipients preferred this voice over more realistic alternatives. According to Adam Reis, co-founder of Conversation Labs, the nuances of interactions and the tool’s quick response time and language usage contribute more to the natural and human feel of the conversation.
Accurate Political Discourse and Challenges
During a recent demonstration, Ashley disclosed that it was powered by AI and that the call was being recorded. It confidently and accurately shared Daniels’ positions on key issues such as affordable healthcare and education reform. The tool also handled pointed questions about election integrity and the incumbent representative, Rep. Scott Perry, with only a slight pause before each response.
However, when confronted with off-topic questions, the tool occasionally stumbled and provided false information. This occurrence, referred to as an AI “hallucination,” is a known challenge in the evolving field of generative AI technology. Ilya Mouzykantskii, CEO of Civox, acknowledged this mistake but emphasized that it was not representative of the overall performance of the tool.
Mixed Voter Reactions and Potential
Voters’ responses to Ashley have varied, with some engaging in thorough conversations while others opting for one-word answers, similar to interactions with banking chatbots. Joe Bachman, spokesperson for Daniels, acknowledged that live one-on-one conversations remain irreplaceable in politics. However, he sees Ashley as a valuable opportunity to reach voters in the southern Pennsylvania district, which has a significant refugee population. The tool’s ability to converse in over 20 languages further enhances its potential outreach.
Behind Ashley’s Creation
To create Ashley, Civox and Conversation Labs utilized a combination of over 20 AI models, both open-source and proprietary. They have not disclosed the specific data upon which the AI models are trained, nor have they revealed whether systems from prominent AI companies like OpenAI were integrated. However, they assured that they comply with industry standards for protecting voter information and encourage regulators to establish stronger guidelines for emerging AI tools.
Concerns and Skepticism
While Ashley’s direct interaction with voters through a chatbot is pioneering, some experts in the intersection of AI and politics express skepticism. Betsy Hoover, a founding partner at Higher Ground Labs, advises caution with AI personalities during this political cycle, emphasizing the need to build trust in politics rather than risking the opposite. Mike Nellis, CEO of Authentic, raises concerns about potential conversational errors and data security.
Ashley’s Second Run for the Congressional Seat
Ashley Daniels, a 45-year-old immigration lawyer and member of the Harrisburg City Council, is making her second run for the congressional seat in a district. In the previous election, Daniels was defeated by six-term incumbent Rep. Scott Perry, who outspent her by a significant margin. The upcoming primary election in Pennsylvania is scheduled for April 23.