Tech companies pledge to fight deceptive AI during 2024 elections

Several major technology companies — including Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, Snap, TikTok and X — signed an accord Friday pledging to combat the use of deceptive artificial intelligence (AI) in this year’s elections.

The 20 participating companies pledged to “work collaboratively on tools to detect and address online distribution” of AI-generated content meant to deceive voters in elections around the globe, in addition to engaging in educational campaigns and offering transparency, according to a press release.

The head of the Munich Security Conference, where the accord was announced, touted the move as a “crucial step in advancing election integrity, increasing societal resilience, and creating trustworthy tech practices.”

“[The Munich Security Conference] is proud to offer a platform for technology companies to take steps toward reining in threats emanating from AI while employing it for democratic good at the same time,” Chair Christoph Heusgen said in a statement.

The accord comes as more than 4 billion people are set to head to the polls this year in more than 40 countries, including the U.S., the press release noted.

“With so many major elections taking place this year, it’s vital we do what we can to prevent people being deceived by AI-generated content,” Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Meta, said in a statement.

“This work is bigger than any one company and will require a huge effort across industry, government and civil society,” Clegg added. “Hopefully, this accord can serve as a meaningful step from industry in meeting that challenge.”

As political campaigns and their supporters increasingly utilize AI, concerns have grown about the power of the rapidly advancing technology to deceive voters. 

Last month, a call impersonating President Biden went out to voters in New Hampshire, urging them not to vote in the state’s primary election. 

The call prompted the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on AI-generated robocalls. However, experts have warned that the agency’s action is not sufficient on its own, leading to calls for Congress and the Federal Election Commission to act as well. 

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