I regret to inform you that TikTok has been overtaken with artificial-intelligence-generated voiceovers of political figures being toxic to each other while gaming. Hearing a Joe Biden-like voice enthusiastically talk about playing Minecraft is extremely funny — mostly because it’s absurd to think of the real president saying any of it — but also shows off how disturbingly easy it is to make political deepfakes now.
It’s all part of a new TikTok and Twitter trend. Users with access to AI tools are using them to emulate the voices of public figures like Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, and having them narrate gameplay videos for Minecraft, Overwatch 2, Final Fantasy 14, and more. The videos are devilishly funny, as there’s something ridiculous about hearing President Joe Biden bicker with Trump about their relative ability to tank and heal. But these TikToks also are a reminder of the way AI is currently being used to blur the line between reality and fiction.
The general format is consistent across these TikToks. The videos use generative AI to make it sound like a bunch of presidents, present and past, got on Discord together to play a game. Other videos feature AI-generated voice lines from conservative talk-show host Ben Shapiro and podcaster Joe Rogan. Many of the videos simply show the groups playing games, and then getting into fights as they sort through the logistics of fighting as a team or exploring together.
In one entry in a popular TikTok series, the AI-generated version of Trump griefs President Biden by destroying his Minecraft house. In a sequel, the AI-generated version of Biden gets back at him by blowing up Trump’s in-game house with hundreds of boxes of dynamite. The AI voices sound convincing. In the video below, the Biden-esque voice starts with a stately tone, until the tone devolves. At time of publication, this video had roughly 3.9 million views.
“In today’s video I’m going to try to get a little payback in by griefing Trump’s house. I went into creative mode and gave myself some TNT to blow Trump’s house the fuck up. Obama and Ben [Shapiro] are also helping,” the AI-generated Biden voice says. Then the video shows the character lining hallways with dozens and dozens of TNT blocks.
The online caricatures of these public figures often parallel or reference real-world events. President Biden, the oldest person to assume the presidency, is often depicted as having trouble playing the games. Multiple users have made videos where the Trump-esque voiceover calls President Biden “Sleepy Joe,” a name Trump has actually used to describe the President.
The whole concept is very goofy — it’s hard to imagine Biden teaming up with Ben Shapiro, a conservative pundit who regularly critiques Democratic leaders. Much of the comedy arises from hearing buttoned-up officials spew jokes and insults fit for middle-school hallways.
i regret to inform the FFXIV community that the presidential raid group has broken up due to The Discourse pic.twitter.com/KivAjbkKk8— JAB NOPHICA'S FAVORITE (@qtrcirclejab) February 17, 2023