Disgruntled school worker accused of using AI to create fake recording of principal on racist rant

A high school athletics director has been accused of using AI to create a fake recording of the principal going on a racist and antisemitic rant.

Dazhon Darien allegedly impersonated Eric Eiswert's voice with artificial intelligence, in a clip that went viral and was widely shared on social media.

In the forged audio, it sounded as if the principal had said "ungrateful" black students "couldn't test their way out of a paper bag" - and had also disparaged Jewish people.

Detectives believe Darien faked the clip in revenge following a conversation about his poor work performance, and a suggestion that his contract at the school would not be renewed.

Those talks had followed allegations that Darien had paid his roommate about £1,500 ($1,900) in school funds under the false pretence of coaching the girls' soccer team.

Court documents said the recording had "profound implications" - with Mr Eiswert suspended, his family left at "significant risk" and police officers providing security at his house.

It also triggered a wave of hate-filled messages on social media and a flood of phone calls to Pikesville High School in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Charging documents stated: "Teachers have expressed fears that recording devices could have been planted in various places in the school."

Mr Eiswert had insisted he did not make the remarks - and a detective found Darien used large language models such as OpenAI and Bingchat, which can "tell users what steps to take to create synthetic media".

Officials say this is one of the first cases of its kind in the US - and are calling for new laws to guard against the technology as AI becomes more powerful.

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Scott Shellenberger, the Baltimore County state's attorney, added: "We also need to take a broader look at how this technology can be used and abused to harm other people."

Darien was arrested on Wednesday evening before he boarded a plane at an airport in Baltimore.

A professor from the University of Colorado-Denver told detectives the recording "contained traces of AI-generated content with human editing after the fact, which added background noises for realism".

A second opinion from a professor at the University of California-Berkeley told police that "multiple recordings were spliced together".

Officials in Baltimore County are now recommending that Darien's position at the school be terminated.