UN research warns of AI deepfakes as "serious and urgent" risks

By: Mark Jessy

UN research warns of AI deepfakes as "serious and urgent" risks

June 13, 2023 5:55 AM

The United Nations wants to handle AI-generated fake news and information as it works to develop voluntary rules for the technology.

The United Nations has labeled AI-generated media as a "serious and urgent" danger to information integrity, particularly on social media.

The United Nations warned of a "intensified" risk of internet disinformation on June 12 in a study→, citing "rapid advancements in technology, such as generative artificial intelligence," and highlighting deepfakes as a specific concern.

According to the UN, AI-generated misleading information and hate speech is "convincingly presented to users as fact." The S&P 500 temporarily fell last month as a result of an AI-generated image and fabricated news story of an explosion near the Pentagon.

It urged AI stakeholders to address the dissemination of incorrect information and to take "urgent and immediate" steps to ensure responsible AI use, adding:

"The era of Silicon Valley's'move fast and break things' philosophy must come to an end."

On the same day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a news conference in which he stated→ that "alarm bells" about generative AI are "deafening" and "are loudest from the developers who designed it."


The research, according to Guterres, "will shape a UN Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms." The code is being created in preparation for the Summit of the Future, which will take place in late September 2024 and will hold inter-government negotiations on a variety of subjects.

"We expect governments, internet platforms, and other stakeholders to freely adopt the Code of Conduct's principles," he said.

Meanwhile, on June 13, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Conservative Party leader William Hague presented a paper→ on artificial intelligence.

The pair proposed that the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, and "other allies" "push for a new UN framework on urgent safeguards."

Because of its "unpredictability" and "ever-increasing power," AI "could present the most significant policy challenge ever faced," the pair argued.

Blair and Hague also said that the government's "existing techniques and mechanisms are poorly configured" for this kind of technology.