Imran Khan

Imran Addresses Supporters Using AI From Prison

Imran Khan

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to construct a voice clone, the former Pakistan prime minister, Imran Khan, addressed his supporters as part of his campaign months ahead of the much-anticipated general elections in the country, CNN reported.

Khan was convicted of corruption in August and has been imprisoned ever since.

In addition, he is charged with disclosing classified material, a charge that the former politician and cricket player has refuted time and again and claims are meant to prevent him from running in the February general elections.

The government shut down the internet for three days after Khan’s brief incarceration in May provoked fatal rioting, causing the country’s media regulator to forbid television stations from airing Khan’s talks, according to CNN.

Khan has been the subject of private legal proceedings. Since his arrest in August, no public image of Khan in custody or in court has been released.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party held an online rally on Sunday that lasted about seven hours, during which it released a roughly four-minute clip that used AI technology to mimic Khan’s voice. The audio was overlayed with old footage and photographs of the country’s former leader.

According to CNN, the caption on the video read, “AI voice of Imran Khan based on his notes for Jalsa (a rally) from jail.”

“My fellow Pakistanis, first, I would like to praise my social media team for this historic attempt,” the AI voice said, adding, “Perhaps you are wondering what my condition is in jail … My determination for real freedom is strong.”

“Our party is not allowed to hold public rallies … Our people are being kidnapped and families are being harassed,” the AI voice said, according to CNN.

In 2018, Imran Khan swept to power. However, opposition leaders accused him of driving the nation to the verge of economic catastrophe four years into his term.

In April 2022, a legislative no-confidence vote resulted in his removal from office.

Tens of thousands of people attended nationwide demonstrations against Khan’s removal for months afterward.

In an attempt to overcome an ‘unspoken ban’ on public gatherings and rallies, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) organised a “virtual power show” on Sunday through social media to energise its supporters ahead of the upcoming polls, Dawn reported.

However, the online event encountered disruptions, with users reporting difficulties accessing social media platforms in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad after 8 p.m. Internet services were also reported to be slow, the report added.

NetBlocks, an internet tracking agency, observed a “nation-scale disruption to social media platforms across Pakistan, including X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.”

The online gathering, primarily broadcast on YouTube, garnered viewership of 72,487 within minutes of commencement, reaching 89,190 half an hour later. The viewership fluctuated between 70,000 to 80,000 for an hour before dropping to 53,000 after two hours, Dawn reported. (ANI)

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