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Wednesday, April 17, 2024  
08 Shawwal 1445  

AI used for Imran Khan’s address in PTI virtual rally, reports international media

PTI social media admits Khan’s speech was made with the help of AI
A file photo of Imran Khan
A file photo of Imran Khan

Former prime minister Imran Khan allegedly used an audio clip generated by artificial intelligence (AI) late Sunday to address a virtual rally, the international media claimed.

The four-minute video, which was heard by supporters of PTI, was made with a voice clone.

The revelation made by international news agencies AFP and Reuters raised many questions.

Jibran Ilyas, whose bio on X says he is PTI Social Media Lead, had shared the clip on his social media post on Sunday. He clarified that Khan’s speech was made with the help of AI.

Apparently, the clip in the starting four second bit of the video was taken from one of his old videos where he addresses his supporters in his orthodox style. Rest of the section was overlaid with historic footage of Khan and still images.

It merits here to mention that many people have accused the PTI of forgery in the past. There were also reports that the number of PTI attendants in the virtual rally was exaggerated and the party purportedly used “bots”.

Senior journalist Syed Talat Hussain took to X to slam PTI for allegedly using bots.

“PTI’s virtual ‘jalsa’. First they relied on boots to prop themselves; now they want bots to rescue them. Their world isn’t real,” Hussain said.

Khan is behind bars since August and is being tried for leaking classified documents, allegations he says have been made to stop him contesting February 8 general elections.

‘Khan sent a shorthand script through lawyers’

Khan sent a shorthand script through lawyers which was fleshed out into his rhetorical lingo, according to the PTI, AFP reported.

The text was then dubbed into audio using a tool from AI firm ElevenLabs, which boasts the ability to create a “voice clone” from existing speech samples, the France based news agency said.

The audio was broadcast at the end of a five-hour live-stream of speeches by PTI supporters on Facebook, X and YouTube, and was overlaid with historic footage of Khan and still images.

It drew more than 1.4 million views on YouTube and was attended live by tens of thousands on other social media platforms, Reuters reported.

It was bookended with genuine video clips from the onetime cricketer-turned-politician’s former speeches according to PTI, but a caption appeared at intervals flagging it as the “AI voice of Imran Khan based on his notes”.

“This was a no-brainer for us, when Imran Khan is no longer there to actually meet at a political rally,” US-based PTI social media chief Jibran Ilyas told AFP. “It was to get over the suppression.”

“We wanted to get in election mode,” Ilyas said, “No PTI political rally is complete without Imran Khan.”

Global network monitor NetBlocks said social media was restricted for seven hours starting late Sunday.

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said the query on internet disruptions could be referred to the telecom regulator or the ministry of information technology, saying, “I have no information about it.”

According to Reuters, he, however, didn’t respond to whether it was a violation of free speech and assembly mandated by election laws for a free and fair voting.

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