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Podcast: How search engines shape what we know

Podcast: How search engines shape what we know

Social media takes a lot of heat for spreading disinformation, but Francesca Tripodi thinks we should look more closely at another fixture of our browsers: search engines. On this episode of "Civic Genius" we learn more about how the same forces that shape our social media diets also drive the information we find when we search online, and how we can boost our own media literacy.


How Search Engines Shape What We Know by Civic Genius

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Overcoming AI voice cloning attacks on election integrity

Levine is an election integrity and management consultant who works to ensure that eligible voters can vote, free and fair elections are perceived as legitimate, and election processes are properly administered and secured.

Imagine it’s Election Day. You’re getting ready to go vote when you receive a call from a public official telling you to vote at an early voting location rather than your Election Day polling site. So, you go there only to discover it’s closed. Turns out that the call wasn’t from the public official but from a replica created by voice cloning technology.

That might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but many New Hampshire voters experienced something like it two days before the 2024 presidential primary. They received robocalls featuring a deepfake simulating the voice of President Joe Biden that discouraged them from participating in the primary.

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Robotic hand holding a ballot
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What happens when voters cede their ballots to AI agents?

Frazier is an assistant professor at the Crump College of Law at St. Thomas University. Starting this summer, he will serve as a Tarbell fellow.

With the supposed goal of diversifying the electorate and achieving more representative results, State Y introduces “VoteGPT.” This artificial intelligence agent studies your social media profiles, your tax returns and your streaming accounts to develop a “CivicU.” This artificial clone would use that information to serve as your democratic proxy.

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Sen. Ron Johnson in front of a chart

Sen. Ron Johnson claims President Biden has allowed 1,700 terrorists to enter the country. That total refers to encounters (people who were stopped)

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Has President Joe Biden ‘let in’ nearly 1,700 people with links to terrorism?

This fact brief was originally published by Wisconsin Watch. Read the original here. Fact briefs are published by newsrooms in the Gigafact network, and republished by The Fulcrum. Visit Gigafact to learn more.

Has President Joe Biden ‘let in’ nearly 1,700 people with links to terrorism?

No.

Border agents have encountered individuals on the federal terrorist watchlist nearly 1,700 times since President Joe Biden took office — that means those people were stopped while trying to enter the U.S.

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Urban planning can counter social media’s impact on young people

Dr. Jones is a grassroot urban planner, architectural designer, and public policy advocate. She was recently a public voice fellow through The OpEd Project.

Despite the breathtaking beauty of our world, many young people remain oblivious to it, ensnared by the all-consuming grip of social media. A recent Yale Medicine report revealed the rising negative impact social media has on teens, as this digital entrapment rewires their brains and leads to alarming mental and physical health struggles. Tragically, they are deprived of authentic life experiences, having grown up in a reality where speculation overshadows genuine interactions.

For the sake of our society’s future, we must urgently curb social media’s dominance and promote real-world exploration through urban planning that ensures accessible, enriching environments for all economic levels to safeguard the mental and physical health of the young.

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podcast mic in the middle of a red and blue America
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Fellowship brings Gen Z voices into democracy and podcasting

Spinelle is the founder of The Democracy Group podcast network and the communications lead for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State.

According to Edison Research, nearly half of Gen Z are monthly podcast listeners. But their voices are largely absent from podcasts about democracy, civic engagement and civil discourse. The Democracy Group’s podcast fellowship, which recently completed its third cohort, aims to change that.

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