UN report highlights ‘serious and urgent’ concerns about AI deepfakes

The United Nations has called artificial intelligence-generated media a “serious and urgent” threat to information integrity, particularly on social media.

In a June 12 report, the UN claimed the risk of disinformation online has “intensified” due to “rapid advancements in technology, such as generative artificial intelligence” and singled out deepfakes in particular.

The UN said false information and hate speech generated by AI is “convincingly presented to users as fact.” Last month, the S&P 500 briefly dipped due to an AI-generated image and faked news report of an explosion near the Pentagon.

It called for AI stakeholders to address the spread of false information and asked them to take “urgent and immediate” action to ensure the responsible use of AI, and added:

“The era of Silicon Valley’s ‘move fast and break things’ philosophy must be brought to a close.”

The same day UN Secretary-General António Guterres held a press conference and said “alarm bells” over generative AI are “deafening” and “are loudest from the developers who designed it.”

Guterres added the report “will inform a UN Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms.” The code is being developed ahead of the Summit of the Future — a conference to be held in late September 2024 aiming to host inter-government discussions for a raft of issues.

“The Code of Conduct will be a set of principles that we hope governments, digital platforms and other stakeholders will implement voluntarily,” he said.

‘Most substantial policy challenge ever’

Meanwhile, on June 13 the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, and Conservative Party politician William Hague released a report on AI.

The pair suggested the governments of the U.K., United States and “other allies” should “push for a new UN framework on urgent safeguards.”

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The arrival of AI “could present the most substantial policy challenge ever faced” due to its “unpredictable development” and “ever-increasing power,” the pair said.

Blair and Hague added that the government’s “existing approaches and channels are poorly configured” for such a technology.

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