Miami Mayor Francis Suarez launches AI chatbot for presidential campaign

Author: Meg Kinnard/ CBS Miami
Published: Updated:
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is making a pitch for California companies to relocate to South Florida. (CREDIT: CBS Miami)

A super PAC supporting Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s run for the Republican presidential nomination has launched an artificial intelligence chatbot to answer questions about him, marking yet another example of how generative AI tools are being used in 2024 presidential campaigns.

The bot unveiled Wednesday by SOS America PAC listens to a user’s questions and matches them to video answers, created with an AI-powered avatar made to look and sound like Suarez.

“Hi, I’m AI Francis Suarez,” the bot says to introduce itself, its mouth moving in a way that’s not quite human. “You’ve probably heard that my namesake, conservative Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, is running for president. I’m here to answer questions you may have about Mayor Suarez’s proven agenda for economic prosperity, cutting spending and supporting our police. So, how can I help?”

The tool is powered by VideoAsk, a product created by the software company Typeform that advertises its use in recruiting and sales. The product’s website says clients can create “video funnels” that send visitors down different pathways depending on the questions they ask, allowing users to “choose their own adventure.”

The chatbot doesn’t appear to answer a user’s actual questions on the spot; instead, it directs them to a video on a topic in Suarez’s platform.

When asked Suarez’s plan on immigration, for example, the bot starts playing a 55-second video about “Mayor Suarez’s Miami Model” that discusses various topics including “economic prosperity in Miami,” unemployment rates, job creation, homicide rates and homelessness.

When asked if Suarez would support Trump as the GOP nominee, however, the bot turns to a computer-generated caricature identifying itself as “AI Ron DeSantis.” The caricature, made to resemble the Florida governor, says Suarez is concerned with “saving America’s economy, supporting our police officers” while DeSantis thinks “the single greatest threat to American families today” is “Mickey Mouse, yes Mickey Mouse – run for your lives!”

Some questions stump the bot, prompting a screen that reads, “Sorry, I did not understand…”

The chatbot joins other examples of 2024 candidates using generative AI tools in new ways in their campaigns.

Last month, DeSantis’ campaign released a video on social media that used images generated by artificial intelligence to show former President Donald Trump hugging infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And in April, the Republican National Committee released a dystopian campaign ad meant to show the future if President Joe Biden is re-elected, created entirely with AI-generated images.

While artificial intelligence has been used before in political campaigning, AI tools have improved dramatically in recent years, making it faster, cheaper and easier to create images, videos or blocks of text from scratch.

While the tools can streamline tedious tasks and create innovative ad campaigns, experts warn that they can also be used to churn out harmful and believable disinformation meant to influence elections.

SOS America PAC and Typeform didn’t immediately respond to inquiries requesting more information about Suarez’s chatbot.


Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.