Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova speaks during the Web Summit, Europe's largest technology conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

Despite the fact that free speech is protected by EU laws, according to Jourova, “I don’t see any right for the machines to have the freedom of speech” when it comes to AI.

An important official stated on Monday that the European Union is pressuring online companies like Google and Meta to intensify their efforts to combat false information by labeling text, photos, and other content produced by artificial intelligence.

Vera Jourova, vice president of the EU Commission, stated that the ability of a new generation of AI chatbots to produce intricate content and images in a matter of seconds presents “new challenges for the fight against disinformation.”

She claimed that she contacted the 27-nation bloc’s voluntary disinformation agreement signatories, including Google, Meta, Microsoft, TikTok, and other tech firms, asking them to cooperate in addressing the AI issue.

Jourova stated at a briefing in Brussels that online platforms that have integrated generative AI into their services, like Google’s Bard chatbot and Microsoft’s Bing search engine, should implement safeguards to stop “malicious actors” from spreading false information.

Companies should implement technology to “recognise such content and clearly label this to users,” according to her, if they provide services that have the potential to disseminate AI-generated misinformation.

Requests for comment from Google, Microsoft, Meta, and TikTok were not immediately fulfilled.

Despite the fact that free speech is protected by EU laws, according to Jourova, “I don’t see any right for the machines to have the freedom of speech” when it comes to AI.

The rapid development of generative AI technology, which can create text, images, and video that resembles human speech, has astounded some people and alarmed others due to its potential to drastically alter many aspects of daily life.

With its AI Act, Europe has assumed a leading position in the global movement to regulate artificial intelligence; however, the law still needs to receive final approval and won’t go into effect for a number of years.

Officials in the EU, which is also introducing a different set of regulations this year to protect people from harmful online content, are concerned that they must move more quickly to keep up with generative AI’s quick development.

A realistic image of Pope Francis wearing a white puffy jacket and an image of billowing black smoke next to a building with the claim that it depicted an explosion close to the Pentagon are recent examples of debunked deepfakes.

The Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen used OpenAI’s ChatGPT to draught the opening of a speech to Parliament last week.

Politicians have even used AI to warn about its dangers. In order to bridge the gap before the EU’s AI regulations take effect, European and American officials are drafting a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence that could be ready in a matter of weeks.

By the end of August, tech companies must better police their platforms to shield users from hate speech, misinformation, and other harmful content under the EU’s Digital Services Act. Companies should begin labelling AI-generated content right away, though.

The EU disinformation code, which mandates businesses measure their efforts to combat false information and issue regular reports on their progress, is already ratified by the majority of the world’s largest digital companies.

In what appears to be Elon Musk’s most recent effort to relax regulations at the social media company, Twitter withdrew last month.

Jourova has harshly criticised Twitter for leaving the EU code and called it a mistake. In order to assess Twitter’s compliance with the Digital Services Act, European Commissioner Thierry Breton will go to the company’s San Francisco headquarters with a team. Additionally, he will pay visits to other Silicon Valley tech firms like OpenAI, Nvidia, and Meta.