Democratic rep warns artificial intelligence is being used to 'target vulnerable populations'

Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeLawmakers call for small business aid at all levels of government The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Top tech executives testify in blockbuster antitrust hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) is warning that artificial intelligence is being used to target "vulnerable populations," particularly African-American women.

“I have been doing a series of workshops here on Capitol Hill through my multicultural media caucus,” Clarke told Hill.TV on Wednesday.

“One thing that was brought to my attention was how new artificial intelligence has been used quite frankly to target vulnerable populations,” she continued. "Black women, revenge porn all of which has been manipulated in a way in which it is damaging to individuals in our society."

The New York lawmaker joined “Rising” to discuss her latest bill, which aims to combat the spread of misinformation and deepfake videos or altered media purporting to be authentic.

The legislation would require manipulated videos to feature an irremovable digital watermark and an audio disclosure warning viewers. Failure to do so could lead to a fine, up to five years in prison or both.

“It’s important that the public is not deceived in any way, shape or form — particularly going into this next election cycle,” Clarke told Hill.TV.

Lawmakers have long grappled with how to address the potential damage of deepfake videos.

While Democrats have floated the idea of using filters to control these videos, Republicans have voiced concerns that this move could potentially treat conservatives unfairly.

But Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff to subpoena top DHS official, alleges whistleblower deposition is being stonewalled Schiff claims DHS is blocking whistleblower's access to records before testimony GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (D-Calif.) issued a stark warning during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week, saying that Congress must act before it's too late. 

“Now is the time for social media companies to put in place policies to protect users from this kind of misinformation not in 2021 after viral deepfakes have polluted the 2020 elections,” Schiff said. “By then it will be too late.”

The hearing came just weeks after a fake video of House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi preparing for House to decide presidency if neither Trump or Biden win electoral college: report Trump seeks boost from seniors with 0 drug discount coupons GOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November MORE (D-Calif.) spread across social media. The viral clip was edited in a way to make the top Democrat appear drunk and raised new questions among lawmakers about how to fight the spread of fake and altered content.

⁠—Tess Bonn