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State AG calls AI crimes against children a growing problem

Law and justice concept - Themis statue, judge hammer and books. Courtroom.
NiseriN/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Law and justice concept - Themis statue, judge hammer and books. Courtroom.

Artificial Intelligence isn’t the future anymore – it’s here today. As a result, the state’s top cop says it’s time to harden the laws orbiting AI.

Joining 53 of his colleagues across the nation, state Attorney General Marty Jackley has added his name to a formal request to create a commission relating to AI and its use in crimes against children.

Jackley said modern AI is a powerful tool.

“Anybody that has seen ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ – the voice of Val Kilmer, AI was done to project that," Jackley said. "What we’re starting to experience though, some of the bad actors are literally taking either photographs off social media or voice from video and they’re turning that into computer-generated pornography.”

These so-called ‘deepfakes’ can also be used to spoof political figures and celebrities – but AI exists right on the boundary of both technological advancement and the law.

“The challenge is that there is no state law addressing it – so clearly there needs to be a look at it by the legislature to try to parse out those areas where AI is beneficial, but then also to address those situations where there is clearly a bad actor oftentimes producing harm on children, so we can properly address it,” Jackley said.

Jackley said that legal gray area created gaps when deepfakes found their way to South Dakota.

“We’ve had involvement in four cases, but because it’s not a violation of state law – we’re fortunate, the US Attorney’s office has taken those cases and they have been prosecuted," Jackley said. "Again, this is an opportunity where 54 Republican and Democrat Attorneys General are asking Congress to put together the right team to study this issue on an expert commission and give us guidance.”

Jackley said it’s important to not take any action to derail legitimate growth of AI, but added he'd like to see joint operation between state and federal authorities to tackle the issue.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture