Andrew Yang and Global Experts Urge Government Action on AI Deepfakes

More than 300 experts in technology, artificial intelligence (AI), digital ethics, and child safety have joined forces to send an open letter to governments worldwide, calling for immediate action against deepfakes. Titled “Disrupting the Deepfake Supply Chain,” the letter emphasizes the need for governments, policymakers, and political leaders to impose obligations on the supply chain to curb the proliferation of deepfakes. It outlines three key actions, including the criminalization of deepfake child pornography, even with fictional children. It also advocates for criminal penalties for individuals who knowingly create or facilitate the spread of harmful deepfakes, along with requirements for software developers and distributors to prevent the creation of harmful deepfakes in their media products.

The letter has garnered support from notable figures such as Andrew Yang, a United States politician and crypto advocate, and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker. It has also been signed by former presidents of Estonia and numerous intellectuals from various countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, and China. Andrew Critch, an AI researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and the lead author of the letter, highlights the significant threat deepfakes pose to society and their adverse impact on individuals, communities, and the functioning of democracy. The letter aims to rally public support for immediate legislative measures against deepfakes.

Dr. Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and letter author, emphasizes the need for “biometric rights” to combat the growing problem. She highlights the disproportionate impact of algorithmic abuse on marginalized individuals, with 98% of non-consensual deepfakes targeting women and girls. Buolamwini calls for collective action against harmful uses of AI and advocates for severe consequences for egregious abuses.

The Machine Intelligence and Normative Theory Lab and the Center for AI Safety are among the organizations involved in drafting and disseminating the open letter. In the US, current legislation does not adequately address the production and distribution of deepfakes. Recent events involving deepfake videos of pop singer Taylor Swift and a deepfake using President Joe Biden’s likeness have prompted lawmakers to call for swift action to criminalize deepfake creation. In response, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed updates to regulations prohibiting AI from impersonating businesses or government agencies for consumer protection purposes.

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