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Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Greenwald proposes bill to make deceptive AI audio or video in political campaigns a crime

To demonstrate how AI technology works, Assembly Majority Leader used artificial intelligence to generate an Op-Ed in support of his position

By David Wildstein, May 11 2023 12:38 pm

Using artificial intelligence to create deceptive audio or visual media in political campaigns would be a crime in New Jersey under legislation being introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald.

To illustrate the ease of generating AI content now, Greenwald submitted an Op-Ed to the New Jersey Globe today advocating a ban on “misleading AI-generated image and audio” that was entirely generated through AI technology.

“We’re grappling with something serious here; the potential for a wonderful expansion of technology comes with it the very real dangers of misuse,” Greenwald said.   “AI technology exists that can manipulate voices and images to make it realistically appear that someone has said something they never did.”

Greenwald entered “a simple prompt” into an AI-generator: “Write an op-ed from the perspective of Lou Greenwald, who is promoting his legislation to ban the use of misleading AI images and audio in political campaigns.  Include a historical quote about the power of information.  Be aspirational but cautious.”

According to Greenwald, the AI program used just those instructions to produce a 390-word opinion piece articulating his position in “less than 20 seconds.”

Greenwald’s draft bill would allow a candidate who uses deceptive audio or visual media to be charged with a disorderly person offense if they “knowingly or recklessly distributes deceptive audio or visual media with the intent to deceive a voter with false information about the candidate or election.”

Instead, he wants a disclaimer that states, “This advertisement contains manipulated images or sound.”

The proposal would allow a candidate “whose voice or likeness appears in deceptive audio or visual media” to seek civil damages as the person who distributed the message.

“I hope we can begin a meaningful discussion about how to harness the best aspects of the incredible growth of this technology while limiting potential harm,” said Greenwald, whose Op-Ed fully discloses how he used AI and why.  “I doubt I need to offer suggestions for how that could be abused in a political campaign, which would be a subversion of our democratic process.”

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