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Is Joe Biden’s ‘Cognitive Decline’ a GOP AI Trick?

Joe Biden. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.

Are conservatives using various types of technology, even artificial intelligence, to make President Joe Biden appear that he lacks the mental acuity and sharpness to be president?

The left-wing Guardian newspaper believes that it is the Republicans who are using various video editing techniques to make the president appear worse than he really is.

Is ‘Sleepy Joe Biden’ Really That Sleepy? 

Conservatives have long claimed that “Sleepy Joe” does not have the mental health faculties to be president.

These underhanded means, such as slowing down video, to make Biden appear to be slurring his words, have appeared to take their toll on ordinary Americans and convince them that the president lacks the right stuff.

Washington Post ABC News Poll taken earlier this year revealed that only 32 percent of respondents thought that Biden has the “mental sharpness” to be president.

Splice It and Dice It to Make Biden Look Bad

The Guardian noted that conservatives have been attempting to tie Biden to mental health problems since at least 2019 when a doctored video made the rounds on conservative social media platforms.

A right-wing provocateur named Logan “Carpe Donktum” Cook, who was later banned from Twitter in 2020, took footage from the president’s speech at a college in Iowa and spliced it together to make it look like Biden was having trouble forming sentences.

The idea is to make these types of video memes, spread them on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, and hope that more higher profile Republicans, such as Donald Trump, pick them up and amplify them.

Sometimes the Videos Are Unreal

New artificial intelligence tools could “deep fake” an entire Biden speech. Last month Senator Richard Blumenthal played a recording of one of his speeches at a committee hearing. After the talk ended, Blumenthal claimed that the words were not his and that AI had not only faked his voice but also wrote the speech. These types of deep fakes may be used against Biden to make his verbal gaffes appear worse than what they are.

There is ample evidence of Biden making slip-ups in speeches and public comments to not have to fake it. But during campaign season, people pay closer attention and could be more susceptible to believing doctored and artificially produced videos and audio clips. It is not clear if platforms like YouTube, Rumble, and TikTok can spot fake video before it is reported by viewers. This means that meme makers can exploit Biden’s shortcomings and send video clips that have been tampered with into the conservative Internet ecosystem for viral spreading before they are fact-checked and taken down.

During the 2020 campaign, Trump social media director Dan Scavino found what he thought was a genuine video of Biden falling asleep during an event. It was viewed millions of times. The video turned out to be the result of manipulated editing tools to take a video of Biden with his eyes closed combined with fake captions. This was only one of such efforts to make Biden appear to be slow and less mentally agile than Trump.

At Least a Thousand Pro-Trump Ads to Make Biden Look Mentally Helpless

The Guardian said the Trump campaign used numerous videos based on real footage too in 2020. “The campaign ran more than a thousand Facebook and Instagram ads with various slogans attacking Biden’s mental abilities.”   

These had negative titles such as “Joe Biden is slipping”; “What happened to Joe Biden?”; and “Do you think Joe Biden has the mental fortitude to be president?”

That was three to four years ago. Artificial intelligence tools to manipulate fake video and audio are abundant and cheap if not free of charge. Any online saboteur can make a fake “mental health” Joe Biden video and make it look real. It will be a challenge for social media companies to figure out what is real and what is fake during the 2024 presidential election cycle, and Joe Biden may be a victim of technology that makes him out to be even more unfit for president than he already appears.

Author Expertise and Experience

Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

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Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.