AI-generated audio of Joe Biden and Donald Trump trashtalking while gaming is taking over TikTok

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • On TikTok, faked audio created by AI of Joe Biden and Donald Trump gaming has become a hit meme.

  • The profane, funny videos create a world where pols gather to play Overwatch and Minecraft.

  • But the ease with voice AI can be used for jokes also shows how easy it is to fake convincing quotes.

"The only good use for AI voice generation," reads a comment underneath a popular recent TikTok.

You'd be reasonable to expect the video to be of something helpful like mindfulness or education, but it's actually a comedic, profanity-filled AI simulation of Joe Biden and Donald Trump playing against each other in the popular multiplayer shooter Overwatch.

"Oh, great, it's this guy," Biden says.

"You know, I was having a really great day today," says Trump, "and I see fucking Bidenator, in my lobby, just to ruin this day."

"Don't care," Biden replies dismissively.

It's a kind of antagonistic, gamer-bro conversation that's hilarious just because of its mundanity — if it weren't for the recognizable voices of the presidents, it could be any duo of of Gen Z or millennial gamer bro rivals.

The video by content creator @voretecks, which has millions of views across Twitter and TikTok, is a sequel to their February 12 video titled "presidential overwatch debate," which quickly became a much-copied viral video format in the last few weeks.

This repeating format is more than just another meme in the endless online cycle. With AI-generated audio now far more accessible to everyday content creators than ever before, it's now easy to make puppet versions of the presidents say whatever they want. In this case, it's farcical dialogue about Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto.

But the phenomenon also points to ways in which the upcoming 2024 election campaign will be one taking place on much shakier ground when it comes to digital media, as the tools continue to improve, and everyday users continue to gain experience in using them. It's already happening: recently, an attempt was made to spread a false audio recording of a candidate in the Chicago mayoral race.

Meanwhile, creators across social media are flocking to the viral format. The Presidential Gaming Universe now has weeks worth of lore, spread out between different accounts and videos, all centered on realistic AI-generated audio with added video game visuals. Portraying presidents as relatable, stupid, hubristic gamers spewing raunchy humor in the vein of South Park or any of the thousands of popular Twitch streamers, the videos are a communally-crafted sitcom featuring broad caricatures of figures every American can recognize, and jokes that people across the political spectrum would find funny.

The Biden Cinematic Universe

On the @bidenandfriends TikTok account, "Sleepy Joe" plays Minecraft and other video games with his best (and worst) buddies. Biden is a forgetful, irritable everyman besieged on all sides by rudeness, who just wants to play without being bothered. Bill Clinton,whose lines mainly revolve around finding women to flirt with, drops in, as does  Obama, who can be seen acting as a reasonable straight man attempting to convince Biden not to "grief" Trump's White House abode.

Biden's characterization in these videos is a kind of "fanon," a fictionalization of him as a give-no-fucks old man. It's certainly at least partially derived from the "Dark Brandon" meme of last year, which turned Republican critique on its head to portray Biden into a student-loan-demolishing laser-eyes badass at a time when his approval rating was beginning to tick upwards.

Other political and celebrity figures pop up in various installments, but the core trio of Trump, Biden, and Obama seems to persist across the lore. Serious world events like the war in Afghanistan and the January 6 riot become punchlines for the insults the presidents fling over voice chat while competing.

Sometimes they even get deep. The AI content-centric Twitter account @weirddalle reposted an interlude-esque video, in which the presidents take a break from gaming in order to have a heart to heart conversation.

"The weight of the presidency can be a lot to bear," Biden reveals.

"You just have to stay strong and do what's best for the country," Trump says.

"It's good to have friends who know what I'm going through," Biden says.

Viewers seem to respond well to them going on jargon-heavy rants, feuding over in-game resources, and sabotaging each other. "If politicians would just play a game of Minecraft together, the world would be a better place," reads an earnest comment under one video.

Brought down to the level of everyday gamers, with their own relatable problems and pastimes — like forgetting to pretend they weren't playing Genshin Impact — you can understand them, and possibly they can understand you. The videos, while silly, may well demonstrate a collective desire for politics to just be a little more normal.

While the absurd "Presidential Gaming" genre is one of the more mostly-harmless examples of AI celebrity humor — nobody could really reasonably believe the voice clips are real — others, while just as funny, might seem a little more believable to the casual viewer, like Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro going to the Beach That Makes You Old (created by Zach Silberberg) or making AI memes of their own (created by @tallbart). In an era of endless content, many podcasters and public figures have hours of voice recordings freely available which make it easy for anyone to train an AI model on them to create a perfect mimicry.

A voice AI free-for-all as 2024 looms

These meme videos are just the tip of the iceberg of a larger conversation about responsible AI content generation which, in the realm of audio clips, has far larger implications than satirical entertainment.

Bank accounts can be broken into using a generated voice to bypass security systems, as one Vice reporter recently showed. And when a 19-year-old in Denmark used AI software DiffSVC to generate an Ariana Grande cover of SZA's song "Kill Bill" which went unexpectedly viral, it kicked off a discussion about copyright and ethics surrounding the use of AI in music.

A handful of US states have instituted laws governing the use of visual and pornographic deepfakes, but technology is advancing so rapidly that the legal system is struggling to keep pace with new developments, and it's unclear what safeguards, if any, will be in place before the 2024 presidential election season kicks off in earnest.

Currently, the only thing stopping users from making AI voices say whatever they want — from Minecraft-based insults to convincing political propaganda — is their own personal ethics. It's possible that may change at some point in the future, but for now, creators and viewers of these videos are enjoying them while they can.

"I remember when people thought AI would kill us all, but this is how we use it," commented one TikTok user. Even when technology is dangerous, people will find ways to use it to make each other laugh.

Allegra Rosenberg is a writer and researcher in Brooklyn, NY. She covers fandom, pop culture, tech, history, and the environment.

Read the original article on Business Insider