The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to ban automated calls that utilize artificially generated voices, a move aimed at combating the increasingly sophisticated and fraudulent activities made possible by such technology.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, in a statement on Thursday, noted that "bad actors are using AI-created voices in unwanted phone calls" for various purposes, including extorting individuals, impersonating celebrities, and misleading voters. She warned against "scammers behind these phone calls."
The Commission clarified that its decision, effective immediately, renders the voice-cloning techniques used in these automated calls, known as robocalls, illegal and a form of consumer fraud, according to the French Press Agency.
The significant advancements in generative artificial intelligence over the past year have raised multiple concerns, prompting efforts to regulate the use of this technology, which allows for the creation of content (texts, images, and voices) based on simple everyday language requests.
The agency pointed out that "the increase in these types of calls has accelerated in recent years because this technology now makes it possible to deceive consumers with misleading information through the imitation of voices of celebrities, political candidates, and even family members."
In this context, there were recent instances of fraudulent phone calls using President Joe Biden
's voice, dissuading residents of New Hampshire from voting in the Democratic primary elections. An investigation into "a possible illegal attempt to disrupt" the voting process is underway.
In October, President Biden signed an executive order to improve the regulation of artificial intelligence, concerning its impact on security, justice, and the labor market. Among the key recommendations of the document was the development of tools to facilitate the detection of content produced by artificial intelligence.
Jessica Rosenworcel on Thursday stated that "new tools to eliminate these fraud operations and to ensure the protection of the public from fraud and misinformation will now be available to state attorneys general going forward."