FCC Bans AI-Generated Robocalls – The New York Times
Federal Communications Commission on Thursday Unwanted robocalls generated by artificial intelligence outlawedAmid growing concerns over election disinformation and consumer fraud facilitated by technology.
The FCC's unanimous decision cited a three-decade-old law aimed at curbing junk phone calls, making clear that AI-generated spam calls are also illegal. The agency said that by doing so it has expanded the ability of states to prosecute creators of unwanted spam robocalls.
“It seems like a distant future, but it's already here,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, impersonate celebrities, and misinform voters.”
Concerns about the use of AI to replicate the voices and images of politicians and celebrities have grown in recent months as the technology to recreate personalities has gained popularity – particularly ahead of the US presidential election in November.
Those concerns came to a head late last month, when thousands of voters received an unsolicited robocall from a fake voice of President Biden, instructing voters to stay away from the polls in the first primary of the election season. The state Attorney General's Office announced this week that it has launched a criminal investigation against a Texas-based company it believes is behind the robocalls. Caller ID was falsified to make it appear as if the calls were coming from the former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairwoman.
AI has also been used to create deep-fake videos and advertisements that mimic voices and images. This includes a fake and discredited video of actor Tom Hanks promoting dental plans and a video of singer Taylor Swift with sexually explicit content.
Lawmakers have called for legislation to ban AI deep fakes in political ads, but no bills have gained attention in Congress. In the void of federal law, more than a dozen states have passed laws curbing the use of AI in political ads.