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The Wild West of AI: Do Any AI Laws Exist?

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Author: McAfee   AUG 02, 2023

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Are we in the Wild West? Scrolling through your social media feed and breaking news sites, all the mentions of artificial intelligence and its uses makes the online world feel like a lawless free-for-all. 

While your school or workplace may have rules against using AI for projects, as of yet there are very few laws regulating the usage of mainstream AI content generation tools. As the technology advances are laws likely to follow? Let’s explore.

What AI Laws Exist?

As of August 2023, there are no specific laws in the United States governing the general public’s usage of AI. For example, there are no explicit laws banning someone from making a deepfake of a celebrity and posting it online. However, if a judge could construe the deepfake as defamation or if it was used as part of a scam, it could land the creator in hot water.

The White House issued a draft of an artificial intelligence bill of rights that outlines best practices for AI technologists. This document isn’t a law, though. It’s more of a list of suggestions to urge developers to make AI unbiased, as accurate as possible, and to not completely rely on AI when a human could perform the same job equally well.1 The European Union is in the process of drafting the EU AI Act. Similar to the American AI Bill of Rights, the EU’s act is mostly directed toward the developers responsible for calibrating and advancing AI technology.2

China is one country that has formal regulations on the use of AI, specifically deepfake. A new law states that a person must give express consent to allow their faces to be used in a deepfake. Additionally, the law bans citizens from using deepfake to create fake news reports or content that could negatively affect the economy, national security, or China’s reputation. Finally, all deepfakes must include a disclaimer announcing that the content was synthesized.3

Should AI Laws Exist in the Future?

As scammers, edgy content creators, and money-conscious executives push the envelope with deepfake, AI art, and text-generation tools, laws governing AI use may be key to stopping the spread of fake news and protect people’s livelihoods and reputations.

Deepfake challenges the notion that “seeing is believing.” Fake news reports can be dangerous to society when they encourage unrest or spark widespread outrage. Without treading upon the freedom of speech, is there a way for the U.S. and other countries to regulate deepfake creators with intentions of spreading dissent? China’s mandate that deepfake content must include a disclaimer could be a good starting point.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes are a prime example of how unbridled AI use could turn invasive and impact people’s jobs. In their new contract negotiations, each union included an AI clause. For the writers, they’re asking that AI-generated text not be allowed to write “literary material.” Actors are arguing against the widespread use of AI-replication of actors’ voices and faces. While deepfake could save (already rich) studios millions, these types of recreations could put actors out of work and would allow the studio to use the actors’ likeness in perpetuity without the actors’ consent.4 Future laws around the use of AI will likely include clauses about consent and assuming the risk text generators introduce to any project.

Use AI Responsibly

In the meantime, while the world awaits more guidelines and firm regulations governing mainstream AI tools, the best way you can interact with AI in daily life is to do so responsibly and in moderation. This includes using your best judgement and always being transparent when AI was involved in a project. 

Overall, whether in your professional and personal life, it’s best to view AI as a partner, not as a replacement. 

1The White House, “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People

2European Parliament, “EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

3CNBC, “China is about to get tougher on deepfakes in an unprecedented way. Here’s what the rules mean

4NBC News, “Actors vs. AI: Strike brings focus to emerging use of advanced tech

 

 

 

 

 

 

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