Burning Questions: Online Deception and Generative AI

Thursday, April 11 | 11:00 AM — 12:30 PM
Location: 9th Floor Conference Room at 500 First St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Registration: RSVP here (this event is open to the public)


Moderated by Alissa Cooper, Executive Director of the Knight Georgetown Insitute

In 2024, powerful generative AI tools are now widely available, allowing the creation of believable synthetic text, images, and video. This emerging landscape raises urgent questions about the integrity of information online, the potential for deceptive content, and the very foundation of public trust in digital spaces. 

In the nation’s capital, these developments are igniting discussions and action across the federal agencies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is exploring how its authority to address unfairness, deception, and competitive harms can be applied in this new era. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched the AI Safety Institute with a dedicated workstream focused on standards, tools, methods, and practices relating to synthetic content. The Federal Election Commission has an open proceeding about the use of AI-generated content in campaign ads. And the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already ruled that the use of AI-generated voices in robocalls is illegal.

In this dynamic environment, the role of independent research is more important than ever, as is the need for shared understanding of threats and mitigations among policymakers, industry, academia, and civil society. This panel will bring together federal agency experts grappling with the varying implications of AI-generated content for online deception. It will explore what research, data, and evidence are most salient to current policy debates, highlighting existing concerns while also anticipating broader societal and ethical questions that loom over the horizon. The session will illuminate how our collective knowledge about the online information environment is informing evolving regulations and standards related to synthetic content, and what new knowledge is needed to protect individuals and society from online manipulation.