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One person’s hallucination is another person’s opinion. Where do we draw the distinction?

AI concept
Digital and Insight
artificial intelligence

By Kate Saunders

Distorted sleeves, unseasonal foliage, a missing wedding ring… if the royal Mother’s Day photo controversy has shown us anything, it’s that you can’t always trust what you see on the internet. But as manipulation or misinformation becomes harder to spot, the need for proactive regulation and strategic management of AI and the media it generates is becoming of increasing importance.

This week, SEC Newgate hosted a Roundtable event to discuss the opportunities and reputational risks posed to businesses by AI. Exchanging their insights and experiences with AI, the table discussed the rapid increase in valuations in AI fields, recent legal developments, and strategies for dealing with the changes AI is bringing to the workplace.

Just as election campaigns are threaded with the growing potential for the spread of manipulated media, generative AI’s potential to blur the boundary between the objective and subjective can pose a threat to the reputations of individuals and businesses. The table was united in agreement that generative AI’s ingrained proclivity for hallucination marks a new, unpredictable potential concern for the reliability of information presented on the internet and reputational risk.

With our table bringing together the perspectives of experts in tech development, law and investment, what became clear was the difficulty of imposing national legislative boundaries on something so fundamentally borderless and decentralised. Existing legislation is globally inconsistent and often difficult to understand. In such a new and volatile field of research and development, the perpetual whack-a-mole game of tech regulation leaves governments and businesses playing catch-up to manage each new development. To meet the potential challenges of AI head-on, therefore, a proactive approach is needed.

AI’s possible threats are couched in its undefined boundaries and uncertain future, whether job displacement or the spread of misinformation.

But members of our roundtable remained optimistic about AI’s potential benefits for cutting costs, increasing efficiency and revolutionising the way businesses and organisations operate. As one attendee argued, the role of humans is shifting from that of the writer to that of the editor- providing the sense check, not the research – meaning the issue of credibility will only continue to grow.