Addressing the Legal and Ethical Challenges of AI: University of Alberta Calls for Government Action Amid Deepfake Controversies

Addressing the Legal and Ethical Challenges of AI: University of Alberta Calls for Government Action Amid Deepfake Controversies.

The University of Alberta has issued a call to action for governments to acknowledge the legal and ethical challenges posed by artificial intelligence. This comes amid growing concerns that current federal legislation is not keeping pace with advancements in AI, particularly highlighted by the incident involving AI-generated deepfake images of pop star Taylor Swift. Last week, explicit and derogatory fake images of Swift began to spread on X, formerly known as Twitter, marking her as the most notable victim of this issue that both tech platforms and anti-abuse organizations have found difficult to address.

Swift’s fervent supporters, known as “Swifties,” quickly organized a response, initiating a movement on the platform with the hashtag #ProtectTaylorSwift, aimed at overwhelming the platform with positive images of the singer and reporting accounts distributing the deepfakes.

Following this, X temporarily halted some searches related to Taylor Swift as the explicit deepfake images proliferated.

Bill Flanagan, President of the University of Alberta, emphasized to CityNews the critical need to consider the ethical and legal implications of artificial intelligence. He pointed out the rapid advancement of AI technology and stressed the importance of engagement from both the federal government and the Government of Alberta, particularly concerning data privacy.

The University of Alberta, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, is set to launch the Artificial Intelligence Discovery Place, aiming to democratize AI skills within Edmonton’s tech community and establish Alberta as a hub for AI innovation. Flanagan highlighted the university’s commitment to pioneering AI research with broad applications across various sectors including industry, education, business, and research.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner expressed her concerns on X, highlighting the creation of AI-generated images and the existing legal loopholes in Canada concerning artificially created intimate images. Rempel Garner has been a proponent of stricter AI regulations in parliament, underlining the lack of a widespread support network like Swift’s “Swifties” for the average Canadian and calling for immediate governmental action.

As AI technology evolves rapidly, the University of Alberta’s president reiterated the necessity for both the federal and Alberta governments to remain actively involved in discussions around data privacy and the broader ethical and legal questions posed by AI advancements. Flanagan is optimistic about the transformative potential of AI and its capacity to significantly benefit society, positioning the University of Alberta at the forefront of this technological leap.


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About the Author: Bernard Aybout

In the land of bytes and bits, a father of three sits, With a heart for tech and coding kits, in IT he never quits. At Magna's door, he took his stance, in Canada's wide expanse, At Karmax Heavy Stamping - Cosma's dance, he gave his career a chance. With a passion deep for teaching code, to the young minds he showed, The path where digital seeds are sowed, in critical thinking mode. But alas, not all was bright and fair, at Magna's lair, oh despair, Harassment, intimidation, a chilling air, made the workplace hard to bear. Management's maze and morale's dip, made our hero's spirit flip, In a demoralizing grip, his well-being began to slip. So he bid adieu to Magna's scene, from the division not so serene, Yet in tech, his interest keen, continues to inspire and convene.