Senators are focusing on the possible impact of new artificial intelligence (AI) tools in creating a flood of misinformation during the 2024 elections. As Congress works on developing legislation to regulate this emerging technology, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer emphasized the necessity for action to prevent AI from disrupting elections. He expressed concerns about the potential for political campaigns to use fabricated yet believable images and footage of candidates, distorting their statements and affecting their chances of being elected. Schumer also highlighted the risk of foreign adversaries exploiting AI technology to interfere in US elections.
While Congress deliberates on new laws, some state officials are taking proactive measures. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon revealed that his office is collaborating with federal partners to counter AI-generated content that spreads false information about elections. Simon emphasized the real threat that AI poses to the administration of elections.
The concerns about AI’s impact on elections extend beyond the Senate Rules Committee. Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mark Warner, expressed worry about AI contributing to foreign influence efforts during elections. He noted that the widespread availability of these technologies has significantly lowered the barrier of entry for foreign governments, enabling them to utilize AI tools for their military and intelligence activities.
US cyber officials, aware of the potential risks, are preparing for the impact. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, with experience in election defense efforts, expressed concern about the effects of AI tools on the 2024 elections. He stressed the need to consider the role of generative AI and guard against foreign interference in the electoral process.
American policymakers, including those in the White House, are actively working to address the perceived dangers posed by new AI tools. The Biden administration plans to issue an executive order focusing on artificial intelligence later this year. Congress is also diligently crafting legislation aimed at mitigating AI threats. However, Schumer has cautioned against rushing such efforts and emphasized the importance of thoughtful consideration.
House lawmakers are taking a methodical approach to understanding AI, with members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to learn about AI from faculty members. This visit will potentially inform their deliberations on legislation related to emerging technology.
Some Republican lawmakers have urged regulators in the Biden administration to hold off on imposing regulations on AI until Congress provides clearer guidance. They advocate for giving Congress the opportunity to take action on AI legislation before implementing any regulations.