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Broadcasters Must Pay Attention to Artificial Intelligence

Ad Opportunity Editorial by Loris Taylor, NPM President/CEO

Everyone seems to be buzzing about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Every discussion somehow touches on AI and its impact. One big topic is how AI affects political ads. In the first three months of 2024, over 40 states considered making laws to control AI in political ads. Some wanted to ban AI in these ads altogether, while most agreed it's okay if the ad tells people it's using AI.

Only 11 of those 40 states passed laws. In 2024, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin will join the club. They joined Michigan, California, Texas, Minnesota, and Washington, which already had AI laws.

Broadcasters, and media in general, must pay attention because each state's law is different. Some say you could get in trouble if you don't follow the rules, while others just give a warning. And guess what? Some laws say broadcasters could be in trouble if they don't check ads properly.

Here is the tricky part, broadcasters must show ads as they are. Broadcasters can't change them, even if the ads are mean or untrue. The law says so. So, if an ad uses AI but doesn't follow the rules, broadcasters might still have to show it. And here is the real kicker. It is super hard to tell if an ad used AI or not. Audio ads using AI are already tricky to distinguish, and video ads are even tougher to spot. Candidates might complain and demand that broadcasters take down an advertisement with AI. AI used in advertisements places broadcasters in a tough spot.

The big question is whether these laws are fair and will hold up in court. Broadcasters must keep an eye on AI because it's a big deal, especially in an election year. So, how can a small broadcaster figure it out? Here is the bottom line, consult with your station or licensee attorney to learn what your state law has to say about AI used in advertisements.



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