Indonesia Polls: AI ‘Resurrects’ Long Dead Dictator, Sparks Ethical Concerns | World News – Times of India


In a striking instance of technology’s political applications, a video featuring an AI-generated deepfake of the late Indonesian dictator Suharto has garnered widespread attention. This video, which has achieved over 4.7 million views across platforms like X, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, was created using advanced tools to clone Suharto’s facial and vocal characteristics.Suharto, known as the “Smiling General” for his demeanor despite a ruthless rule, passed away in 2008, making the video’s realistic portrayal both intriguing and controversial.
As per a CNN report, Erwin Aksa, the deputy chairman of Golkar, one of Indonesia’s major political parties, originally shared the video to emphasize the importance of voting in the upcoming elections on February 14. The move by Golkar, which is supporting Prabowo Subianto, a figure closely associated with Suharto’s regime, has sparked a debate over the ethical implications of using deepfakes for political propaganda.
Critics have raised concerns about the morality of resurrecting figures from the past to influence current political landscapes, especially when it involves manipulating voters with the likeness and voice of a deceased dictator. This has led to a broader discussion on the role of deepfakes in election campaigns, with observers noting that many parties are now employing such tactics for political gain, the CNN report said.
The incident has prompted warnings from Indonesia’s communications ministry and concern from digital rights groups about the potential for voter manipulation. This situation underscores the evolving challenges in ensuring electoral integrity in the digital age, as AI technologies become increasingly sophisticated and capable of influencing public opinion.
Who was Suharto?
Suharto served as the President of Indonesia from 1967 to 1998, following a coup that removed Sukarno, the country’s first president.
Military Background: Before his presidency, Suharto was a career military officer and played a significant role in the Indonesian army.
His rule is known as the “New Order” era, a period characterized by rapid economic growth, but also marked by widespread corruption and suppression of political dissent.
Suharto’s regime was notorious for human rights abuses, including the anti-communist purges in the mid-1960s that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
Despite the controversies, Suharto’s government is credited with significant improvements in the living standards of Indonesians and reducing poverty through industrialization and economic reforms.
Suharto resigned in 1998 amid widespread protests and economic crisis. His legacy remains mixed, with some Indonesians remembering him for stability and development, while others criticize his authoritarian rule and human rights violations.

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