Both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are making efforts to tackle the impact that artificial intelligence can have on communications between consumers and companies, both over the phone and via text messaging. It’s likely that we will continue to see more focus, and potentially more regulation, as the federal government seeks to protect consumers from the potential negative aspects that AI can have.
What the FCC is Doing: Last week, the FCC published a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that seeks information on the impact that artificial intelligence technology is having on the commission’s attempts to protect consumers from robocalls and robotexts. It is worth noting that the NOI is looking for comments on the positive and negative impacts that AI is having on these interactions.
- The FCC’s focus is on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the regulator is seeking information about whether AI needs to be defined and categorized separately from technology like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems.
- The FCC is also questioning whether its rulemaking authority under the TCPA provide it with enough authority to regulate the usage of AI on calls and texts.
What the FTC is Doing: The FTC has launched a Voice Cloning Challenge where anyone can submit ideas aimed at protecting consumers from AI-enabled voice cloning harms, such as fraud and the broader misuse of biometric data and creative content. The winning submission will receive $25,000.
- The objective of the challenge is twofold. Identify new ideas to prevent, monitor, and evaluate malicious voice cloning, but also to put regulators on notice if there are no viable ideas that emerge from the competition. Such an event would be a “critical and early warning to policymakers that they should consider stricter limits on the use of this technology, given the challenge in preventing harmful development of applications in the marketplace,” the FTC said.