Tech pros call for rule change to allow media to refute AI-powered misinformation on election day

A survey from BCS has found that a majority of technology professionals are concerned about the effect of deepfakes on the upcoming vote and believe regulations should be amended accordingly

Tech professionals believe that regulations should be changed so as to allow major news outlets to rebut AI-powered misinformation on the day of the next general election.

Currently, Ofcom-administered regulations prohibit the “discussion and analysis… of election issues” for the duration of the 15-hour period during which the polls are open – from 7am to 10pm. Throughout this time, broadcasters and news sites are also forbidden from publishing the results of any opinion polls.

A study of 1,200 members of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT found that 62% of respondents believe that these rules should be amended to “include an exception to allow mainstream media to rebut fraudulent misinformation”. These changes reflect a landscape in which 65% of IT professionals are worried that deepfakes created by artificial intelligence technology could have an impact on the result of the election.

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Some 92% believe that all parties should reach an agreement to volunteer information on any instances of AI used during campaigning.

Adam Leon Smith, BCS fellow and international AI standards expert, said: “As we approach the general election, it is essential that broadcasters are more active in the fight against misinformation and disinformation, especially when it comes to those misleading the electorate. By enabling reputable media outlets to fact-check and correct misleading content in real time, they can provide the public with accurate information, thereby fostering a more informed electorate and upholding democratic values.”

Founded almost 70 years ago and formerly known as the British Computer Society, BCS is a professional body for tech workers – some 70,000 of whom, drawn from 150 countries, are members of the organisation.

Sam Trendall

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