Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel unveiled plans today to launch a comprehensive inquiry into the impact of AI on the proliferation of illegal and unwanted robocalls and texts.
Speaking at an event in collaboration with AARP, Rosenworcel announced her intention to present a proposed inquiry to her colleagues.
If approved at the Commission’s public open meeting on November 15, 2023, the inquiry would mark a pivotal moment in understanding how AI technologies can be harnessed to protect consumers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Emphasising the potential of AI to revolutionise communications, Rosenworcel acknowledged the challenges it poses but also highlighted its significant opportunity to enhance efficiency, impact, and resilience in communication networks.
The proposed inquiry, titled a Notice of Inquiry, aims to explore:
- Integration of AI technologies: The inquiry will assess how AI technologies align with the FCC’s statutory responsibilities under the TCPA.
- Future AI technologies: It will investigate the scope of future AI technologies falling under TCPA regulations.
- Regulatory frameworks and policy formation: The impact of AI on existing regulatory frameworks and potential policy adjustments will be examined.
- Authentication of AI-generated content: Consideration will be given to methods for verifying the authenticity of AI-generated voice or text content from trusted sources.
- Next steps: The inquiry will explore possible future actions necessary to advance these investigations.
As AI technologies capable of generating content become increasingly prevalent, they have the potential to replicate tasks traditionally performed by humans—including interactive communications via voice calls and texts. Moreover, AI can enhance analytical tools used to block unwanted communications, restoring trust in communication networks.
This technological advancement also brings forth new challenges, including privacy concerns and safety risks—such as the ability to mimic real human voices.
The FCC’s proposed inquiry aims to strike a balance by comprehensively understanding the benefits and risks associated with AI. By doing so, the Commission can formulate effective strategies to combat potential harms, leverage the advantages of AI, and safeguard consumers.
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