It’s AI Election Year

Leah Feiger: It’s coming to us, it’s ominous.

Vittoria Elliott: Woof.

Leah Feiger: And perhaps that’s true. Nilesh, thank you so much for joining us today. Listeners, once again, if you see cases of innovative AI emerging during this election year, anywhere in the world, you can let us know using the submission form in the memo. Our program notes. We’d love to hear from you. After the break, Tori and Nilesh will tell us their favorite plots of the week. Welcome back, this is Plot of the Week. That part of the show where each of our guests gives the best theory they’ve seen this week, and I pick my favorite. Tori, what did you find?

Vittoria Elliott: Last week, my colleague David and I wrote a story on a website called OpIndia, a right-wing website affiliated with the BJP that spreads Islamophobic conspiracy theories. One of them is Love Jihad, in which Muslim men are trying to marry or kidnap Hindu women to force demographic changes. We did a big story on them. Obviously we forced them into a subscription model.

Leah Feiger: Read the story in our show notes guys, it’s good.

Vittoria Elliott: But I always like it when I find a local flavor to an internationalized plot. As we were researching this article, one of the articles from OpIndia that I saw circulating was that our friend George Soros is a favorite target of the right wing everywhere in the world-

Leah Feiger: Honestly, it’s impressive how global it’s become.

Vittoria Elliott: Right? He’s everywhere. In fact, his real agenda is that he is not part of a global cabal, as the right in the United States might claim. They often focus on his identity as a Jewish man, an immigrant. But in India specifically, he is white.

Leah Feiger: Sure.

Vittoria Elliott: And that he is sponsoring anti-India, anti-Hindu initiatives.

Leah Feiger: OH.

Vittoria Elliott: Because ultimately he is invested in destroying India and Hindu identity. Again, I always think it’s great to see these global figures get a local flavor to how they analyze the conspiracy here.

Leah Feiger: For our situation.

Vittoria Elliott: Yes.

Leah Feiger: The globalization of conspiracies is something I could talk about forever. Poor George, who knows nothing.

Vittoria Elliott: He just wants to fund some democratic initiatives.

Leah Feiger: That was wild. Okay, that’s a good thing. It was unexpected. Great. Nilesh, what do you have? What’s your plot of the week?

Nilesh Christopher: I was going to talk about Love Jihad, because it has attracted all kinds of headlines.

Leah Feiger: Sure.

Nilesh Christopher: But more specifically, something I found interesting is a variation of it called Vote Jihad. At one of the recent political rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself mentioned Vote Jihad. This lends further credence to the age-old conspiracy that Muslims will vote in large blocs to weaken the Hindu character of India and in the long run undermine Hindu rights . It is a conspiracy linked to India’s demography. Currently, Muslims make up less than 15% of India’s population. But this conspiracy, as Tori said, is global, where most Hindu right-wingers are constantly worried about it. This comes in the form of a What’s App relay, where Hindus are constantly reminded that Muslim voting blocs will come together and vote for Hindu candidates, if otherwise they will ensure that Hindu rights are weakened.

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