AI-Generated Deepfake of Late Indonesian Dictator Suharto Sparks Ethical Concerns
Key Highlights: A video featuring an AI-generated deepfake of the late Indonesian dictator Suharto has gone viral, sparking ethical concerns about the use of deepfakes in political propaganda. The video, which has garnered over 4.7 million views across various platforms, portrays a realistic depiction of Suharto, who passed away in 2008.
Erwin Aksa, the deputy chairman of Golkar, a major Indonesian political party, shared the video to emphasize the importance of voting in the upcoming elections. This move has ignited a debate over the ethical implications of using deepfakes for political gain, especially when it involves manipulating voters with the likeness and voice of a deceased dictator.
Suharto, known as the “Smiling General” for his demeanor despite a ruthless rule, served as the President of Indonesia from 1967 to 1998. His regime, known as the “New Order” era, was characterized by rapid economic growth, but also marked by widespread corruption and human rights abuses, including the anti-communist purges in the mid-1960s.
The incident has prompted warnings from Indonesia’s communications ministry and concern from digital rights groups about the potential for voter manipulation. This situation underscores the evolving challenges in ensuring electoral integrity in the digital age, as AI technologies become increasingly sophisticated and capable of influencing public opinion.
Despite the controversies, Suharto’s government is credited with significant improvements in the living standards of Indonesians and reducing poverty through industrialization and economic reforms. However, his legacy remains mixed, with some Indonesians remembering him for stability and development, while others criticize his authoritarian rule and human rights violations.
As the use of deepfakes in election campaigns becomes more prevalent, there is a growing need for regulations to address the potential for voter manipulation and the ethical implications of resurrecting figures from the past to influence current political landscapes.