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Nebraska Senator files bill requiring watermarks on AI-generated content

Tom Joyce

(The Center Square) - U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska, introduced a bill to regulate artificial intelligence this week.

Ricketts introduced the Advisory for AI-Generated Content Act. If enacted, it would require a digital watermark on content generated by Artificial Intelligence. 

Additionally, it would direct the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security to create federal guidelines for enforcing the requirement, including on political advertising.

“With Americans consuming more media than ever before, the threat of weaponized disinformation confusing and dividing Americans is real,” Ricketts said in a press release. “Deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence can ruin lives, impact markets, and even influence elections. We must take these threats seriously. My bill requiring a watermark on AI-generated content would give Americans a tool to understand what is real and what is made-up.”

The bill would also require the FTC, FCC, DOJ, and DHS to work together to create guidelines for the required digital watermark on many different AI-generated materials for profit. 

Such materials include artwork, songs, and news, among others.

AI-generating companies would get one year to start complying with the law, and the FTC would be its primary enforcer.

"Generative AI tools have become popular for their ability to create original text and images when prompted," the release said. "However, AI’s power to produce convincing text and photorealistic images has already been used to disseminate false information. In May, markets dropped briefly after a fake image of the Pentagon shrouded in smoke circulated on social media. The picture contained many unrealistic elements that occasionally crop up in AI-generated images, such as physical objects blending into each other.

Most Americans cannot distinguish between tweets written by humans and ChatGPT, according to research published by Science Advances journal in June 2023.

"The participants surveyed even found ChatGPT-tweets more convincing than their human counterparts," the release said.

One can read the bill here.