Meet PalmerAI.
Credit: Jason Palmer/Conversica

Super Tuesday unfolded predictably this year with President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump leading their respective primaries. However, in American Samoa, Jason Palmer, a businessman from Maryland, unexpectedly defeated Biden, crediting artificial intelligence (AI) for his victory.

After testing Palmer’s AI campaign tool, doubts arose about the validity of his claim.


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A venture capitalist in the tech industry, Palmer defeated Biden by a significant margin, securing victory by just 11 out of 91 votes in the American Samoa presidential caucus. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he attributed his success to his generative AI, known as PalmerAI, which facilitated outreach efforts in the territory, allowing him to campaign with only a five-person staff.

Despite never physically visiting the small South Pacific island, Palmer praised his chatbot for enabling virtual campaigning in a region overlooked by Biden’s campaign. Palmer expressed to the WSJ that through virtual meetings and AI engagements, he was able to connect with the people in Samoa as if he were physically present.

PalmerAI, developed in collaboration with Conversica, a California-based software company, cost Palmer $25,000 to create. The CEO of Conversica informed the WSJ that the chatbot designed for Palmer had reached 44,000 voters nationwide.

The AI itself operates as a conversational tool using Palmer’s voice and image to communicate campaign messages to voters. Strict controls and protections are imposed on the AI, restricting its responses to approved datasets such as Palmer’s policies, public statements, professional background, or campaign-related topics.

During a test session, the AI provided responses on crucial political matters like Israel/Palestine, reproductive rights, and systemic inequality. However, it evaded questions on subjects beyond its scope, like its stance on sex work or preferences between “waffles or pancakes.”

A photo of a white man with brown hair with text overlaid across his face
Jason Palmer supports reparations.
Credit: Jason Palmer/Conversica

The discussion on the ethical use of generative AI in various contexts, particularly elections, remains contentious. With concerns about deepfakes potentially affecting electoral processes, the ban on AI-driven robocalls by the FCC in January highlights the complexities involved.

In the case of Palmer’s unexpected victory in American Samoa, the outcome appears more linked to voter dissatisfaction with President Biden than the influence of AI. Concerns ranging from Biden’s age to his management of conflicts like the Gaza situation have been raised, reflecting voters’ discontent with his policies. For Samoa, a territory whose residents lack voting rights in federal elections, this election represents a moment for their voices to be heard.

Artificial Intelligence

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Chance Townsend
Assistant Editor, General Assignments

Chance Townsend, an Assistant Editor at Mashable, currently resides in Austin, Texas. He holds a Master’s in Journalism from the University of North Texas and focuses his research on online communities, dating apps, and professional wrestling. In his leisure time, he enjoys cooking, sleeping, and enduring the disappointments of the Lions and Pistons. Contact him via email at [email protected] for engaging stories or recipes.


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