WCCO Radio

 By Laura Oakes and Mark Freie

Newly proposed legislation in Washington D.C. takes aim at the use of Artificial Intelligence in political ads to influence federal elections.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is behind the bipartisan Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act that would effectively, "ban the use of artificial intelligence to generate materially deceptive content falsely depicting federal candidates in political ads to influence federal elections."

"We're starting to see political ads in both party's attacks on people that aren't really them," Klobuchar said. "There was a fake one on Donald Trump and there was a fake one on Elizabeth Warren. It really doesn't matter what party you're in, there's starting to be content where it looks like the person and it's not the person."

Klobuchar, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections, said the bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit the distribution of materially deceptive AI-generated audio, images, or video relating to federal candidates in political ads or certain issue ads to influence a federal election or fundraise.

Federal candidates targeted by AI-deceptive content would be able to have the content taken down and seek damages in federal court.

"On one hand you may have AI-generate material, like a label," Klobuchar said. "Once it gets into a deepfake, where it's pretending it's the person when it's not the person, so you don't even know if the candidate you support or don't support actually said it, that's really dangerous to a democracy."

Klobuchar and other lawmakers spent Wednesday meeting with AI leaders including those concerned about the dangers and some company heads, including Elon Musk.

"It's so important that we move quickly and do the right thing on this," added Klobuchar. "We want America to be leading when it comes not just to technology, which can be used for good things, but we want to be leading on the rules of the road. We don't want to let other countries like China or others get ahead of us on they're handling this. We want to develop a uniquely American set of rules."