Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Artificial Intelligence Meets Elvis Presley

Broadly defined, Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers to technology that can simulate human intelligence, particularly tasks generally thought of as requiring human or cognitive function, such as reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. We’re all familiar with the all-knowing “algorithm” on our phones and TVs that appears to hear and see all, and just generally know everything that is happening in our lives.

Obviously, AI can be tremendously productive, providing tools for increased efficiency, cost-savings, and the commodity we all could use more of – time! The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC) late last year released a report showing that 48% of small businesses used AI tools and applications in 2023, and that 93% of small business owners agree with that “AI tools offer cost-effective solutions that drive savings and improve profitability.” Other noteworthy stats from the report include high percentages of small businesses using AI for marketing and sales, drafting business plans, financial management and planning, human resources, and project management, among a myriad of other tasks.

AI also encompasses the ability to create a broad variety of content, from song lyrics to legal briefs, and to manipulate images, sound, and other materials – often without the consent of those whose images and voices have been doctored through the use of AI technology. A growing number of applications can generate content, create realistic images and videos from descriptions, and copy or clone images, sounds, and voices.

Of course, such use can infringe privacy and intellectual property rights, and raises a host of legal and ethical concerns. And so (and here I’d like to use AI to imitate your mother’s voice and image), this is why we can’t have nice things (or, in the legal context, regulation is here, and more is likely on the way).

Privacy and publicity laws have long protected the use of a person’s image, name, or likeness in commercial use. Tennessee – home of Music City, Nashville - has become the first state to protect vocal likenesses for both commercial and non-commercial use. The law, signed on March 21 and effective July 1, is called the Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act. The so-called ELVIS Act expands Tennessee’s Personal Rights Protection Act to cover any “sound in a medium that is readily identifiable and attributable to a particular individual, regardless of whether the sound contains the actual voice or a simulation.” Both using a voice simulation or creating an AI tool or engine for such purpose are grounds for a civil action and can also be punished as a misdemeanor with penalties including fines and jail time.

A number of states are proposing similar legislation, and more efforts will likely follow. Federal regulation and rulemaking are also underway, with the FTC recently seeking public comment on a proposed rule prohibiting impersonation of individuals generally, and the creation of technology that can facilitate such impersonation. The US Copyright Office is undertaking a study and initiative to examine the impact of generative AI on copyright law and policy.

AI tools clearly serve an important function and offer new tools to small businesses in the constant challenge to save time and money, particularly in the current labor market in which unemployment is low, skilled workers can be difficult to find, and remote work is still commonplace. Users should be mindful, however, of the evolving, and likely increasing, regulatory environment.

It may be true that you Can’t Help Falling in Love, but keep a Suspicious Mind, Don’t Be Cruel, and don’t let AI be the Devil in Disguise (thought up that last sentence all by myself with no AI assistance)!

No comments :

Post a Comment