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Concerns around AI ramp up as 2024 election approaches

Dragan Radojevic/Astarot - stock.adobe.com
Gov. Spencer Cox signed Senate Bill 131 earlier this week in an effort to increase voter awareness.

As we inch closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, experts are discussing the dangers posed by artificial intelligence and disinformation during elections.

In Utah, legislation could mandate disclaimers when AI is used in political ads. Gov. Spencer Cox signed Senate Bill 131 earlier this week in an effort to increase voter awareness.

Shana Broussard, a commissioner with the Federal Election Commission, contended that disclosure efforts are an effective way to inform voters but not infringe on First Amendment rights.

"There is a big controversy that deals with First Amendments rights when you're dealing with speech and particularly when dealing with political speech," she said. "But one thing that the courts have said, that when it comes to disclosure, disclaimers are still OK."

While a number of states have passed AI-related legislation, Broussard said it should be regulated at the federal level. Digital watermarking and other alternatives have also been suggested, which Broussard said is a step in the right direction, but not sufficient to solve the problems AI is causing.

Darrell West, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said that while AI has presented unique and new challenges, and does support legislation, he argued that holding bad actors accountable with existing laws could be part of the solution.

"We need to enforce them," he said. "We need to start prosecuting the worst offenders."

The Brookings Institution has also published a list of best practices for state election officials to follow which include facilitating dialogue with voters and the public around potential challenges of AI, training election staff to use AI tools appropriately as well as testing for and mitigating potential AI dangers before launching AI tools and services.