The creator of deceptive robocalls promoting Biden admits to attempting to emphasize the importance of AI regulations.

The creator of deceptive robocalls promoting Biden admits to attempting to emphasize the importance of AI regulations.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The political consultant behind a robocall that mimicked President Joe Biden’s voice said Monday he was trying to send a wake-up call about the potential malign uses of artificial intelligence, not influence the outcome of last month’s New Hampshire primary.

After his identity as the source of the phone calls was revealed, Steve Kramer admitted to paying $150 to a New Orleans street magician to produce a recorded message. The message, sent to numerous voters two days before the primary on Jan. 23, featured a voice similar to Biden’s and used the phrase “What a bunch of malarkey.” It also falsely claimed that voting in the primary would prevent voters from participating in the November election.

Kramer stated, “Perhaps in the present, I may be perceived as a villain, but I believe my actions will ultimately lead to a improved nation and stronger democracy.”

Authorities in New Hampshire are currently looking into these calls as a potential breach of the state’s law against voter suppression.

Kramer disagrees with the idea that his robocall reduced voter turnout. He points out that Biden won the Democratic primary by a significant margin as a write-in candidate. Although he did assist with ballot access for another Democratic presidential candidate, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, Kramer states that he was solely responsible for raising awareness about the risks of artificial intelligence.

Both New Hampshire and federal officials have given orders to two Texas firms that were participating in the transmission of the phone calls, but according to Kramer’s recollection, neither of them were aware of his actions.

“He stated that their organizations were unaware of my actions, and I did not seek their approval. I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions.”

Kramer is the owner of a company that focuses on initiatives to encourage voter turnout. With years of experience, he has been involved with various campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels, particularly in New York. He stated that he has become more worried after the 2022 midterm elections about the potential misuse of artificial intelligence by campaigns, super PACs, and other entities. Feeling frustrated with the lack of progress in regulations at both the state and federal levels, he made a New Year’s resolution to take matters into his own hands.

He explained that one of his goals was to have a positive impact this year. By specifically choosing to take action on Sunday night, right before the Tuesday primary, when even those not typically interested in politics are paying attention, he felt he could make a statement to the entire nation.

Kramer stated that he intended to remain silent until after the recent South Carolina primary, however, his hired magician, Paul Carpenter, revealed his story to NBC News. Carpenter, known for his expertise in card tricks and illusions, informed The Associated Press on Friday that he believed Kramer was affiliated with Biden and was caught off guard by news of the ongoing criminal probe.

Carpenter stated, “I invented the firearm but did not fire it.”

The attorney general’s office in New Hampshire chose not to provide a statement on Monday. Kramer also did not disclose if he has been contacted by state investigators, but did mention being summoned by the Federal Communications Commission and will comply.

On Monday, the FCC chose not to respond regarding any potential investigations into Kramer and stated that they are actively taking measures to combat the damaging misuse of AI.

“I competed in college wrestling and I’m prepared for any battle,” Kramer stated. “If they try to incarcerate me, I wish them luck. And I truly mean that.”

“If they choose to penalize me for simply doing what is right, despite their failure to do so, despite having the education and training from a prestigious law school? Then they have only proved my point.”

Advanced artificial intelligence programs, such as those that replicate voices and create images, have been utilized in elections in both the United States and other countries. This has raised concerns about the quick dissemination of false information. In the previous year, during the beginning of the U.S. presidential campaign, multiple political ads featured AI-generated audio and visuals, and some candidates even tested AI chatbots as a means of interacting with potential voters.

According to Kramer, he invested approximately $500 to produce media coverage worth $5 million.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have made attempts to control the use of AI in political campaigns, but no laws have been passed at the federal level. After the incident with robocalls in New Hampshire, the Federal Communications Commission has banned the use of AI-generated voices in such calls. Additionally, leading tech companies have joined together to voluntarily take measures to ensure that AI technology cannot interfere with elections.

Kramer has expressed the desire for prompt action to be taken by all regulatory bodies and social platforms.

“He uttered that it doesn’t matter to him whether he gains or loses business because of this. He believes he made the right decision.”