Hundreds of AI luminaries sign letter calling for anti-deepfake legislation

Key Points:

  • The open letter calls for strict regulation of AI-generated deepfakes due to their threat to society.
  • Criminalization of deepfake child sexual abuse materials is demanded, with penalties for creators and developers who fail to prevent harmful deepfakes.
  • Prominent signatories include Jaron Lanier, Frances Haugen, Andrew Yang, and other notable figures in the AI community.


The artificial intelligence community, with more than 500 signatories including notable figures like Jaron Lanier and Frances Haugen, has issued an open letter advocating for strict regulation of AI-generated impersonations known as deepfakes. The letter urges governments to implement obligations throughout the supply chain to combat the proliferation of deepfakes. Key proposals include criminalizing deepfake child sexual abuse materials and imposing penalties on creators and distributors of harmful deepfakes. Developers are also called upon to prevent the creation of harmful deepfakes using their products, with penalties for inadequate preventive measures.


While this initiative is unlikely to lead to immediate legislation, it reflects the growing concerns around the impact of deepfakes on society. The signatories, consisting of academics and industry experts from various disciplines, emphasize the urgency of addressing this issue. The absence of signatories from major tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, except for Lanier in a non-standard capacity, is noteworthy.


The push for regulatory action on deepfakes has been ongoing, with debates in the EU culminating in formal proposals recently. The EU’s proactive approach in criminalizing AI-generated child sexual abuse and deepfakes may have spurred this call to action from the AI community. Additionally, the evolving landscape of online safety legislation, such as the Kids Online Safety Act, and concerns regarding AI-generated scam calls have heightened the need for regulatory intervention.


Despite the lack of a clear legislative agenda, such as the recent establishment of a task force without specific directives, the AI community is signaling the importance of addressing deepfake threats. Whether policymakers will heed this call remains uncertain, especially in an election year with a politically divided Congress. Nevertheless, the open letter provides a valuable resource for lawmakers to gauge the sentiments of the global AI research and development community on the issue of deepfake regulation.



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