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Andrew Yang Joins Call for Deepfake Ban

A group of more than 400 AI expert have warned about the dangers of unregulated deepfake technology

Andrew Yang Joins Call for Deepfake Ban

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang joined more than 400 artificial intelligence experts calling for regulations on deepfake photos and videos.

In a letter, the coalition has asked international governments to take action to prevent the creation of deepfaked child pornography. The group has called for criminal penalties for the creation of harmful AI-generated images. This includes fully criminalizing deepfake child pornography regardless of whether the children are real or computer-generated. Additionally, the coalition has asked that software developers and distributors be required to prevent their audio and visual products from “creating harmful deepfakes” and that they be “held liable if their preventive measures are too easily circumvented.”

AI-generated pornography is a rapidly growing industry, and many targets are minors,” the group wrote in a list of justifications for their call to action. “One report found that deepfake pornography makes up 98% of all deepfake videos online, following a 400% increase in deepfake sexual content from 2022 to 2023, reaching monthly traffic exceeding 34 million in 2023, with 99% percent of those targeted being women.”

In addition to the rising rate of deepfake fraud in the last year, the co-signers warned that the false image technology was a “growing threat to democratic processes around the world.” Approximately half the world’s population will take part in electrons in over 50 countries during 2024, including Bangladesh, Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Mexico, and Russia.

The coalition said that “people need to have access to believable, authentic information” and that “misleading the public through the use of AI should be regulated and enforced through specific, formalized laws.”

“Current laws do not adequately target and limit deepfake production and dissemination, and even requirements on creators — who are often underage — are ineffective,” the letter stated. “The whole deepfake supply chain should be held accountable, just as they are for malware and child pornography.”

The letter’s lead author is Andrew Critch, an AI researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Deepfakes are a huge threat to human society and are already causing growing harm to individuals, communities, and the functioning of democracy,” Critch told The Hill. “We need immediate action to combat the proliferation of deepfakes, and my colleagues and I created this letter as a way for people around the world to show their support for law-making efforts to stop deepfakes.”

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who exposed documents detailing how the platform contributed to misinformation and its impact on teens’ mental health issues, co-signed the letter with Yang. Co-signers include MIT Professor Max Tegmark, Microsoft’s Prime Unifying Scientist Jaron Lanier, Women Against Violence in Europe Executive Director Stephanie Futter-Orel, and former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Hon. Andy Weber.

Yang warned of the growing dangers of deepfakes in April 2019 during a town hall with CNN. 

“We’re on the verge of a very difficult time, Americans can’t trust what we see, and this is before deep fakes really hit the internet,” Yang said, per Inverse. “News ombudsmen would punish those who misinform the public.”

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