THE AI REVOLUTION: How the FCC is Keeping Pace

Hi TCPAWorld! The Baroness here. Although I’m usually providing updates regarding the latest TCPA or CIPA news, today we are going to switch gears and dive into the world of Artificial Intelligence (aka AI).

Let’s start with the basics. What is AI?

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence. It involves the development of algorithms and computer programs that can process and analyze data, recognize patterns, and make decisions or predictions based on that data.

AI can be used for a wide range of applications, from autonomous vehicles to chatbots, and the list goes on. I don’t know about you folks but hearing about AI and its capabilities do scare me a bit.

AI is transforming the world as we know it, and its impact is felt across businesses and industries. In recognition of the significant potential and challenges posed by AI, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the AI Working Group in 2018 to explore the intersection of AI and the FCC’s regulatory mission.

The FCC’s Technological Advisory Council Working Group on Artificial Intelligence and Computing (AIWG) published a white paper, which explored the importance of AI and data for the telecom industry. In sum, the AIWG identified five recommendation areas to address the risks associated with AI. These recommendations are:

  1. Unlock transformational change” – The incorporation of considerations for AI in the FCC Strategic Plan.
  2. To build knowledge, unleash the Data” – The creation of a Task Force to address how the FCC can best address important aspects of Data governance and curation for AI/ML applications to serve its internal needs, and those of industry and the public.
  3. Cast a wide net” – Develop a plan and strategy for designing, developing, deploying, operating, and maintaining a Broadband Map that takes advantage of the best technologies and capabilities available.
  4. Keep humans in control of the loop” – Policies and approaches to ensure the safe use of AI as it impacts the Nations Networks, communication needs, and important applications.
  5. Get your feet wet” – Develop the FCC s capability for extracting value from AI in solving issues and problems that come before the FCC by conducting pilot projects with near term return.

To ensure the safe use of AI, the FCC is also convening an industry working forum of practitioners and experts to analyze the current regulatory framework requirements relative to the use of AI/Machine Learning. The agency is engaging with other governmental agencies that have similar concerns and are undertaking proactive actions on the safe use of AI in their field. This collaboration will help share knowledge and best practices and ensure that the FCC is up-to-date on the latest developments.

As AI technology continues to advance, the FCC will develop a code of conduct, which will quantify the concerns and risks associated with AI and provide expected behaviors of the FCC relative to AI. The agency will engage with the National Institute of Standards and Technology on their AI risk management framework and consider using that lifecycle-oriented structure to develop industry profiles and playbooks that impart guidance and best practices on safe use of AI.

In addition, the FCC will monitor international activities, such as the European Union initiatives around AI regulation, and consider adopting best practices proposed by these efforts. The agency will also assess the need for changes in regulation where AI/ML has the potential to substantially magnify undesirable behaviors and outcomes. For example, it will consider wiretapping laws and how AI (Natural Language Understanding) would be interpreted in that framework, and current rules and regulations on robocalling and assess the implications of AI (natural language understanding) and operational ML (adaptive conversations).

This stuff is really interesting. Click here to read more on the FCC’s white paper regarding AI.

On another note, it is also important to keep in mind that as technology advances, so do the methods used by scammers. The latest trend in scams involves using AI to mimic a loved one’s voice in distress and trick grandparents into sending money. The FCC has taken note of this disturbing trend and is taking action to mitigate the risks associated with AI (as highlighted above).

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, scammers can use AI technology to replicate a voice from just a short 10 second audio sample and hold a conversation in that voice. Scary stuff. In these instances, they can impersonate a grandchild’s voice in crisis and convince their grandparents to send them money. The use of “spoof” caller ID numbers from trusted sources makes it even harder for victims to detect fraud.

In the end, the FCC is actively taking measures to ensure the safe use of AI in communication networks and other applications. As AI continues to evolve, the FCC will continue to develop the necessary policies, frameworks, and best practices to ensure that AI is being used safely and responsibly. And of course, us here at Troutman Amin will also stay in tune with all these updates and keep you folks informed 🙂


Leave a Reply