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Creators should disclose when they've used AI: social media mogul Randi Zuckerberg

TORONTO — Randi Zuckerberg says she thinks creators should start disclosing when they've used artificial intelligence to produce work because it's "becoming harder and harder to tell what's real.
Randi Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook Live and the sister of Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, poses for a photograph in Toronto on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Randi Zuckerberg says she thinks creators should start disclosing when they've used artificial intelligence to produce work because it's "becoming harder and harder to tell what's real."

The tech leader behind Facebook Live, who left the social media giant in 2011 and has since founded a company that connects digital art makers with collectors, said she'd like to see news organizations note when they have used AI to write articles or even credit the technology in a byline. 

Academics could offer similar levels of transparency, which might spur a pattern of disclosure across several industries, she added. 

If this approach becomes the norm, "consumers can learn to be a little more savvy about what's real and what's not real," Zuckerberg said in an interview on the sidelines of the Ontario Centre of Innovation's DiscoveryX conference in Toronto on Wednesday.

"Certainly, I think, it's an issue that keeps a lot of us up at night."

The issue of misinformation has proliferated in recent years. About six in ten Canadians told Statistics Canada last year that they were "very or extremely concerned" about online misinformation, while 43 per cent felt it was getting harder to decipher online truth from fiction compared with three years earlier.

AI has turbocharged the problem by making it faster, cheaper and easier to deceive people with fake or doctored images, audio clips and videos. In the last year or so alone, it's been used to spread fake explicit images of pop star Taylor Swift, depict the pope wearing a puffy coat and mislead people into believing Canadian TV host Mary Berg was arrested.

Social media companies like Facebook, whichZuckerberg's brother Mark Zuckerberg started, have found themselves on the front lines of dealing with misinformation.

While Randi Zuckerberg is unsure how receptive the corporate world would be to the level of AI disclosure she is encouraging, she thinks it's important to start the conversation.

Those engaged in the topic will have to decide whether disclosure means sharing what AI bots or programs they used or even what prompts produced their creations.

"There are a lot of smarter people with experience in AI, law and copyright who are thinking through these things on a deeper level," she said.

"But I do imagine that we'll see a world where at least some of these things need to be referenced right now."

Even if there is disclosure, Zuckerberg said, people will be left with deciding how they feel about "the soul of content."

"Would you listen to a podcast if you knew that there were no humans behind it?" she questioned. "Would you hang art on your walls that was entirely created by AI that a human never touched?

Zuckerberg, who invested in the hit theatrical production "Dear Evan Hansen," said she's thought about these questions a lot and has decided she'd be comfortable throwing AI-generated art on her wall.

"If something's beautiful, does it matter who created it?" she reasoned. 

At the same time as the globe is grappling with AI, some regions are also experiencing challenges around access to credible news.

In Canada, the recent enactment of Bill C-18, known as the Online News Act, has required Google and Facebook and Instagram-owner Meta Platforms Inc. to enter into agreements that compensate Canadian media companies when their content is posted or repurposed by the platforms.

In response, Google, which threatened to block Canadian news from its products, agreed in November to make annual payments to news companies collectively totalling $100 million. Meta took the opposite approach, removing Canadian news from its platforms.

Asked about platforms dropping news, Zuckerberg said, "so much of the world has kind of gone to algorithms in some way."

"But news is a tricky one because then it just surfaces things that keep us in an echo chamber," she said, referencing a term used to describe when platforms serve content to individuals that reaffirms their existing views rather than challenging them.

"News is almost the one category where you want to deliver content to people that's kind of outside their rhythm to challenge their thinking a little more or expand their horizons," Zuckerberg continued.

"That's the part of this that we're missing that I hope we can figure out."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press