Most People Can't Tell The Difference Between Trump And Trump AI, Can You?


James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockNov 13 2019, 13:02 UTC

Marina Linchevska / Shutterstock / IFLScience

Sometimes, even when you hear the words coming out of Trump's mouth with your own ears, it's difficult to believe that they're real things a sitting President has said. Remember, for instance, when he claimed that the noises of windmills cause cancer or repeatedly suggested we should nuke hurricanes


Well, to muddy the waters even further, an artificial intelligence (AI) text generator has been used to replicate Trump's particular – shall we say "distinctive" – speech pattern, and it turns out people can barely tell the difference.

Try for yourself to work out which one of these speeches is written by AI and which one is 100 percent real.

First sample:

"So, that’s why I’ve been saying all along that, yes, I’d love to win. But, boy, do these guys want me to. These guys, they don’t talk about it. They say, 'Donald Trump, please, please run.' Because they’ll take away your tax cuts, because they’ll take away your regulation cuts. They’ll take them away. And, frankly, really, really bad things will happen with our country. Our country would go down very quickly. Very quickly, very, very rapidly. The Democrats want to turn back the clock, which is, essentially, what they’ve done. They’ve turned back. We’ve gone much further left than anybody thought possible."


Second sample:

The Democrats are the party of crime. They want to abolish ICE. And they don't like it. You know, you have these people that come in – I mean, it's incredible. We had a case recently where we got MS-13 out of our country. They're not coming back in. It's amazing. But we're getting them out. We're doing things with ICE and Border Patrol and law enforcement. We've done more than anybody else. So this election is about safety for all Americans. This election is also about prosperity. For years, you've watched as your leaders apologized for America. Now you're seeing America apologize for them. That's why I'm asking every citizen from every party, every background and every race, color or creed to reject the Democrat politics of anger and division and embrace an agenda based on hope and optimism rooted deep within America's heart. Because if there's one thing we've learned over the last few months, it should be this: There really isn't any place else I'd rather be. There's no place. [Audience Chants USA] Thank you. God bless you, and god bless America.

OK, have you decided which one is real? Well, the joke's on you buddy because both of them are written by robots. It's not just the Donald who can lie.


The AI was created by a bit of software called CTRL, a natural language model that can be trained to replicate the language style of a person, given enough input in the form of text. used the AI to generate new Trump speeches and then tested how well the public could differentiate them from real speeches made by the President. The public, it is fair to say, did not perform well.

On average, people correctly guessed which was real and which was fake 40 percent of the time. Which is 10 percent worse than you'd expect from picking an answer at random, or enlisting the help of a coin flip to decide.

Before taking the test, the subjects were asked: "How concerned are you that fake text, written by artificial intelligence, will be used to influence the 2020 election?" Once they'd completed the test, which included 20 samples, 43 percent of respondents said that they were more concerned about the implications of AI-generated text on the 2020 election than they were prior to taking the quiz. You can take a shortened version of the quiz here


So, is the AI getting better or is Trump's speech pattern uniquely easy to replicate?

"The truth is likely a little bit of both," the researchers write on their site.

"While Trump’s rambling style probably makes differentiating between real and fake more difficult than it would be for a more eloquent and talented speaker, today’s new natural language generation AI models have reached a tipping point in their ability to generate fake, real-sounding text."


Try it for yourself, but don't feel too bad if you're useless at it. Most people are.