Councilwoman-Elect Susan Zhuang Acknowledges AI-Generated Responses in Communication with Constituents and Media

AI- generated responses

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  • NYC Councilwoman Zhuang admits using AI, including ChatGPT, for communication.
  • AI detection flags Zhuang’s Q&A answers, sparking authenticity concerns.
  • Zhuang defends AI use, citing language challenges; Democratic colleague calls for ban on “deceptive AI” in politics.

Susan Zhuang, the recently elected Democratic candidate for the New York City Council, set to represent a new Asian-majority district in Brooklyn, has openly acknowledged employing artificial intelligence tools to formulate responses in her communication with constituents and the media. 

The revelation comes after Zhuang’s answers to a Q&A session were flagged as AI-generated by an AI-content detection website, prompting questions about the authenticity of her statements. This admission has raised eyebrows and ignited a debate on the role of AI in political discourse.

AI revelation sparks controversy

Amidst the usual post-election fervor, Susan Zhuang, the Democratic councilwoman-elect from Brooklyn, has found herself at the center of controversy. The revelation that Zhuang utilized artificial intelligence, specifically popular text generation tools like ChatGPT, to compose responses to interviews and communicate with the media has sent shockwaves through the political landscape. 

The New York Post reports that the suspicion arose when a “top Democratic operative” recommended running Zhuang’s statements through an AI-content detection website, which subsequently flagged her answers as AI-generated.

Zhuang’s controversial responses were initially brought to light during an interview with City & State, where she addressed questions about her campaign experience. Notably, when questioned about the aspect of campaigning she wouldn’t miss, Zhuang responded, “The communicative untruthfulness from opposition,” a statement that drew attention for its seemingly crafted nature. Further scrutiny followed when her definition of a New Yorker, filled with poetic descriptions of the city’s vibrancy and diversity, was flagged as potentially generated by AI.

The controversy deepened when The Messenger, acting on the suggestion of the Democratic operative, ran Zhuang’s responses through Copyleaks.com, a platform boasting a 99% accuracy rate in detecting AI-generated content. The result was a clear identification of the entire statement as AI-generated, adding fuel to the growing suspicion surrounding Zhuang’s communication methods.

When approached by the New York Post, Zhuang initially pointed fingers at her staffers, deflecting the responsibility. Yet, she later sent a text to a reporter, attributing her use of AI to her identity as an immigrant and Brooklyn’s first Chinese-American Councilwoman. Zhuang defended the practice, stating that, like many immigrants, she employs AI as a tool to foster deeper understanding, especially in situations where English is not her primary language.

Political response and calls for regulation

Zhuang’s avowal has triggered expansive deliberations regarding the moral quandaries entwined with the utilization of artificial intelligence in the domain of political communication. 

Julie Menin, a comrade Democratic councilmember, has ardently seized upon this juncture as a propitious impetus to ardently champion the imperative for the Federal Election Commission to unequivocally proscribe politicians from availing themselves of what she eloquently dubs as “deceptive artificial intelligence” within the intricate tapestry of their electoral campaigns. 

Menin’s zealous advocacy for regulatory strictures begets a cascade of contemplations concerning the conceivable and intricate impact of AI on the overarching transparency and intrinsic authenticity inherently interwoven into the fabric of political discourse.

As the controversy unfolds, the use of AI in political communication is likely to be a focal point of future discussions within the political arena. How should the intersection of AI and politics be navigated to ensure transparency and authenticity in public discourse?

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Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.

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