McConnell opposed a bill to ban the use of deceptive AI to influence elections.

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday that he will oppose bipartisan legislation coming before the Senate Rules Committee that would allow misleading federal candidates to influence elections. It will ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to create content.

McConnell, a longtime opponent of campaign finance restrictions, warned that the bills coming out of the rules committee would “tamper with” what he called a “well-developed legal system” to crack down on false advertising and “Create new definitions that reach well. Beyond deepfakes.”

He reasoned that if his colleagues on the rules panel saw a dozen political ads, they would “disagree about which ads were intentionally misleading.”

“The fundamental question we're facing is whether politicians should have any other means of shutting down speech they don't like,” he said. “But if the amendment before us expands that authority to unpaid political speech, we're also talking about an expansion of speech regulation that hasn't happened in 50 years of our modern campaign finance system.”

The Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, which would ban the use of AI to create misleading content, was sponsored by Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), supported by Chris Coons (R-Mo.). D-Del., Susan Collins (R-Maine), Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.).

But McConnell, citing testimony from Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), said his definitions in bills to crack down on deepfakes are “at worst, at best, and overly censorious if applied.” It's done in a very mean way.”

“They can exclude all kinds of images and videos as long as a misrepresented 'reasonable person' can draw an alternative meaning from the content,” he said.

The Rules Committee on Wednesday also marked the AI ​​Transparency in Elections Act, which requires disclaimers on political ads with AI-generated images, audio or video, and election administrators preparing for the AI ​​Act, which requires federal agencies to develop voluntary guidelines for elective offices.

McConnell said the proposal to require new declarations could be used to regulate content, which he opposes.

“I also have concerns about disclaimer provisions and their enforcement. Our political disclaimer regime has served a single purpose for its entire history: helping voters understand who is paying for advertising. or endorsing it has never been applied as a content regulation tool to political advertising,” he said.

He urged his colleagues to spend more time on the issue to reach a consensus and announced that he would oppose moving forward with AI-related bills.

“Until Congress reaches a consensus on whether or not AI is acceptable, moving forward with our chins won't reduce the scope of political speech. So at this point I'm not going to vote on S. 2770 or S. 3875 and I will request my colleagues to do the same,” he said.

All three bills were cleared by the Rules Committee.

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