Web event

Power and Images: AI and Political Opinion Formation



AI-generated images are on the rise. These include deepfakes – deceptively real-looking images and videos of people in situations that never actually took place. Fake images can be used as an emotionally effective eye-catcher to accompany and enhance the spread of false reports. With the increase in AI-generated images and videos on social media, there is growing concern that they could influence political opinion and decision-making processes as part of disinformation campaigns. Especially in the super election year 2024 – with the European elections, three state elections, the presidential election in the USA and parliamentary elections in many other countries – it is crucial to better understand and ethically analyse the use and political impact of AI-generated visual material.

The German Ethics Council is holding a web event on 5 June 2024 from 17:30 to 19:00 to follow up on its opinion “Humans and Machines – Challenges of Artificial Intelligence” published in March 2023. Among other things, it addresses the question of how AI influences human self-image and cooperation in public communication and opinion-forming. Against this backdrop, computer scientist Björn Ommer, philosopher Lisa Herzog, communication scientist Juliane Lischka and Judith Simon from the German Ethics Council will examine the phenomenon of image-generating AI in the political public sphere from different perspectives and discuss their ideas with the audience.

The following key questions will be at the centre of the discussion:

  • What is new about AI applications that can generate images and videos?
  • Where and how are such applications used?
  • How do deepfakes affect political opinion-forming and decision-making processes and how should these effects be assessed ethically?
  • (How) could elections be influenced by AI-generated images and videos?
  • How can deepfakes be recognised and what new media skills do we need?
  • How can polarisation and manipulation be effectively countered?
  • What can we do to counter problematic developments and promote the sensible use of generative AI in the public sphere?

Please switch to the German version of this website for more information on the programme.