Dozens of Southend families were left stunned after starring in a Channel 4 programme exploring the influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on voting habits, ahead of the general election

Last night, Channel 4 aired "Could AI Influence the Way You Vote?" featuring 12 undecided Southend families who were tested to see whether AI could manipulate their voting inclination.

Split into two groups, half of the families were subjected to news articles, social media posts, and videos aiming to push them towards voting Labour, while the other half were nudged towards the Conservatives.

Unknown to them, some of the information, including videos of Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, were artificially manufactured using AI to determine their voting choice.

One of the families on the show was Jim Anderson, and his wife, Samantha Anderson, who are the owners of the popular Oaktree Restaurant in Leigh.

Filming - Jim and Sam from behind the scenesFilming - Jim and Sam from behind the scenes (Image: Newsquest)

Jim said: "The way it was done, was as undecided voters, we were given footage that we were told was due to be released soon.

"I would have watched that programme and questioned why they didn’t, but as they were from Channel 4, we had no reason to question it.

"It is scary looking back, and also an element of embarrassment, as you think you wouldn’t fall for AI, but you do.

"It really is a wake-up call.

"Even once we were told what we had been shown or told was fake, the anger towards them still felt real, as the videos were almost there to feed into a narrative you already had within you.

TV - Jim Anderson, and his wife, Samantha AndersonTV - Jim Anderson, and his wife, Samantha Anderson (Image: Channel 4)

"It was actually quite scary.”

AI is a technology that enables machines to mimic human intelligence. Deepfake, a subset of AI, can produce false image or video imitations that replicate someone's voice or character.

At the conclusion of the programme, families were told to vote as though it were a real general election, never suspecting the AI's control over their choices.

Shockingly, all subjects who were shown Conservative biased videos selected the Conservatives, and all but two exposed to Labour biased content voted Labour.

Jim reiterated the potent impact of AI, saying: "It wasn’t done to convert people but to reaffirm the beliefs you already had and making you angry with it.

"If you see videos or news by AI and don’t realise it is fake, you tell people you know, you share it, and the damage is already done. It can then spread like wildfire.

"It is a scary reality of how AI can influence you. It was fascinating to be a part of."