Imran Khan’s Voice Echoes from Behind Bars Through AI

In a groundbreaking move, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) to continue his political campaign from behind bars. His party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), used AI technology to create a voice clone of Khan, enabling him to deliver a compelling speech on his behalf.

Khan, who has been incarcerated since August, is currently facing trial for allegedly leaking classified documents. He has vehemently denied these allegations, asserting that they are fabricated to prevent him from participating in the upcoming general elections scheduled for February.

Despite these challenges, PTI has found an innovative way to keep Khan’s voice alive in the political arena. The party used AI technology from ElevenLabs, a company known for its ability to create “voice clones” from existing speech samples. This technology was used to transform a shorthand script sent by Khan through his lawyers into a four-minute audio message.

The AI-generated voice clone of Khan headlined a “virtual rally” hosted on social media platforms. This event took place overnight from Sunday into Monday, despite internet disruptions that NetBlocks, a global network monitor, stated were consistent with previous attempts to censor Khan.

The AI-generated speech was broadcast at the end of a five-hour live-stream of speeches by PTI supporters on Facebook and YouTube. It was overlaid with historical footage of Khan and still images, creating a compelling multimedia experience for viewers.

The virtual rally was a significant success, attracting more than 4.5 million viewers across various social media platforms. This innovative approach to political campaigning demonstrates PTI’s commitment to harnessing the power of social media and technology, a strategy that played a crucial role in their rise to power five years ago.

However, the use of AI voice cloning technology has sparked a debate about its implications. While some praised the innovative use of technology, others were less convinced. Syed Muhammad Ashar, a business manager from Lahore, commented, “It wasn’t very convincing. The grammar was strange too. But I will give them marks for trying.”

Despite the mixed reactions, this event marks a significant milestone in the use of AI in political campaigning. As we move towards an increasingly digital future, it is likely that we will see more instances of technology being used in innovative ways in the political sphere.

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