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Login | July 14, 2024

States are going after AI in political ads

Technology for Lawyers

Published: June 14, 2024

In the last year or so, 40 states have looked at enacting legislation to limit the use of artificial intelligence/deepfakes/”synthetic media” in political advertising.
Eleven states have now enacted laws designed to prohibit or limit artificial intelligence and its products in political ads.
The laws vary from prohibition to labeling, but they all have the goal of alerting the viewing/listening/reading public when a fake event created by AI is screening.
The 11 states are Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Texas, Minnesota and Washington state. The first six of those have passed laws only since last December.
There is no particular pattern to these laws.
Some of them are criminal laws; some impose civil penalties.
Some of them apply only to the creators of the political ads; some go after the purveyors, broadcasters or platforms.
And most of them have exceptions to broadcasters who simply run ads that they are paid to run.
Some of the new laws require the broadcaster to develop and publicize an anti-AI political ad policy in order to claim an exemption from the law.
And some states have just added deepfakes to their already-existing defamation laws.
Well, then, the only problems are compliance, enforcement, definitions, “should have knowns,” perception, timing and whatever else would keep a state law from working.
The laws run up against how good AI is at some things.
While the six-fingers and weird shadows that plague AI art may be easy to detect if you know what you’re looking for and want to look for it, AI sound is a lot more difficult.
That has advanced to the point where, in many cases, it is virtually impossible to tell when a voice has been created by AI.
How enforceable can this be, do you think?
The states are going to need teams of people watching this.
The political parties will need teams of people looking for these and reporting them.
Probably many AI political ads will get through. Probably many will be questioned.
But how long will it take to take down an AI political ad, while it still runs and affects voters?
Oh well. At least they’re trying.
But the 2028 election cycle will be an absolute nightmare with four more years of AI development.
Thanks for the analysis to David D. Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP.