It is not an exaggeration to say that given the shenanigans and filthiness that characterize contemporary Nigeria’s politics that it will not be an incongruity for anyone to conclude that the long-held cliche that says “politics is a dirty game still holds true”.
You may have probingly wondered, “Dirty politics?” In answering the foregoing contextual question, it is expedient to say that the inspiration to express this view compellingly became obsessive since an alleged phone conversation between Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and David Oyedepo, founder/Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, leaked on social media.at the weekend that there it is obvious that we are in deep trouble, particularly as the seeming mischievous leakage portends a dark digital future of political chaos.
Without any iota of exaggeration, it is obvious that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology now exists which means political villains and hoaxers can create undetectable fake footage of their political opponents doing and saying anything imaginable. Given the reality, it will become a recipe for political chaos, fraud, blackmail, and revenge. Without a doubt, there is every possibility it will allow unscrupulous politicians to deepen, or rather FastTrack their bid in calumniating the reputation of their opponents, and go scot-free with such evil given the impeccable believability it will engender in millions of partisan and gullible people.
In fact, there is no doubt that the depth of believability that AI technology is capable of creating, particularly when seen from the perspective of the footage will remain absolutely convincing despite being fake. Without a doubt, AI has remained an emerging technological tool that mischievous politicians can brilliantly employ to calumniate and damage the reputation of their political rivals, and within hours, the media will begin to investigate and report that the innocent victims in the alleged Tele conversation are phony, but it will be too late as the footage might have gone viral on social media and in this era of conspiracy theory swat where virtually anything posted online is gullibly believed and swallowed hook, line, and sinker will defy every rebuttal that would be made to explain that it was all a hoax.
At this juncture, it is expedient to opine that we should be wary of how quickly we welcome AI technology to the world of politics as it is unarguably a technology that will be more disruptive than social media.
Given the backdrop of the alleged trending leaked Oyedepo/Peter Obi Audio, and without resorting to sounding like an apologist and alarmist, it is expedient to say that there is no denying the fact that deep fake, which is a video or audio of a person in which his or her face or voice is digitally altered so that it appears to be someone else, will typically be used in Nigeria to maliciously spread false information if accepted and allowed to gain popular utilization.
In fact, with the fast trend of the leaked Oyedepo/Peter Obi Audio, and the gullibility with which Nigerians are welcoming it into the realm of politics, it is obvious that we are in trouble as deep fakes are already upon us. The reason cannot be farfetched as the AI technology which means you or I can make utterly convincing hoax footage by using it, particularly as it is cheap, available, and allows anyone to easily concoct short videos or audios with the power to unleash political chaos. In fact, it is only a matter of time before this latest technological threat makes its mark with some shocking stunt.
Be that as it may, it is pragmatic to at this juncture to caution ourselves that the unarguable technological shenanigan is not about Peter Obi but about Nigeria’s political landscape which may likely be further dirtied if the emergence of AI technology is not dispassionately regulated.
Ostensibly faulting the truthfulness of the alleged conversation that ensued between Obi and the clergyman, a social media user, Ksee Choice Ehimare posted on his Facebook page thus, “When I listened to this doctored fake voice call trending, I was just laughing. Not because it sounds funny but how power desperados could go to this length. Truly OBIdient is really a giant sharp bone in their throats.
“Am not even surprised. If people who could hire mechanics to impersonate bishops endorsing Tinubu Muslim-Muslim tickets just to deceive us, then what else can they not do?
“If people who could use the same guy twice (the video below) to act their stupid drama to fool gullible Nigerians, then expect more deceit and lies from them.
“Now back to the DOCTORED VOICE CALL, I had to listen several times and I picked up some errors in the progressions
1) The Audio was likely AI-Generated or a deep fake. You don’t need to run it through deep ware AI to know.
2) Phones do not record while Dialing. So those who published the Audio should tell us how the dialing sound managed to find its way to the recording. Remember it was an internal device recording and not an external device recording.
As a reference point, check all leaked Audio from Sahara Reporters in the past, you can never hear the Dialing Sound.
3) You don’t in any way start a call of such context with ‘Praise the Lord ‘. Every Christian knows this. Like, who does that?
4) You don’t call an Influential Person to help you deliver votes on the eve of the election. There is nothing he can do except talk to his people and you want him to talk to his people in Kwara and South West to vote for you on the eve of the election. This sounds absurd to me. Except he wants Oyedepo to Rig the Election which we all know that the Bishop is in no place to do as he has no such machinery under his care.
- Peter Obi does not vote in Onitsha but in Agulu but was heard in the audio saying he was in Onitsha where he would vote. Remember, the context of the audio was on the eve of the election.
- As an influential person who wants to sway votes in your candidate’s favor, you do not release a publication to that effect on the eve of the election.
Like anyone else, Ken Okonkwo made his mistake with his admittance. He was too quick to do that without seeking advice from professionals in that field.
But then, it is best to focus as these guys are desperate to delegitimize the credibility they lack.”
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is expedient to caution in this context that it is inadvisable to urge Nigerians not to be clapping and dancing over the fast emerging AI technology as its integration into the realm of campaign of calumny will unarguably makes Nigeria’s political landscape dirtier. No doubt, Obi and Oyedepo have today fallen victims of the new technology, who knows whose turn to fall victim of the AI technology tomorrow.