GOP Senator Pushes Regulations for AI Content

( – A Republican Senator introduced a new bill to Congress to help make sure Americans are able to tell what content is real versus what is generated by artificial intelligence (AI). The bill, put forth by Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-KY), would require a watermark on any AI-generated content.

The legislation would direct multiple federal agencies to work together to create a watermark that would be required to be applied to all publicly available AI-generated images, along with rules for enforcing the law. The agencies involved would be the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.

Ricketts said he wants to help protect Americans from “the threat of weaponized disinformation.” He highlighted the specific dangers posed by deep fakes, which are realistic-looking videos created by AI of a person superimposed onto another’s likeness. The Senator emphasized that deepfakes can “ruin lives,” affect stocks and markets, as well as influence voters and sway elections.

When asked if this law would make American companies less able to innovate in terms of AI, Ricketts said he doesn’t believe the law will “stifle innovation,” but it will provide more transparency for consumers.

While many have lauded the proposal, others have concerns that the regulations would be essentially impossible to enforce. For one, a watermark can often be removed from an image by transferring it to another medium. Not only that, but if the legislation only applies to companies that operate in the United States, it would mean that AI companies from other countries would be able to create AI images without the watermark, then share them on American social media, which would lend credence to the images as real. This would leave Americans vulnerable to influence from foreign governments who are able to create fake images without the watermark.

Enforcement of this legislation will likely prove difficult, experts say. One of the strongest ways to fight back against AI-generated misinformation is by tracing images back to where they were originally sourced from.

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