News from the OPM

Government Taking Steps to Address the Challenges Posed by AI and Deepfakes to Democratic Process

Government Taking Steps to Address the Challenges Posed by AI and Deepfakes to Democratic Process

In light of recent discussions and concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfake technologies on the integrity of Jamaica’s democratic process, the Government of Jamaica wishes to reassure the public of its awareness and understanding of these issues.

The emergence of AI-generated content, particularly deepfakes, has been recognized as a significant threat that could undermine the democratic process, especially as the country approaches crucial electoral milestones.

Senator Dr. Dana Morris, Minister with responsibility for Skills and Digital Transformation in the Office of the Prime Minister, commented: “Central to the Administration is our commitment to preserving democracy and the democratic process. The government understands the critical importance of maintaining trust and transparency in our electoral system.”

The government is actively taking steps to formulate a comprehensive response to this emerging threat. A National AI task force, comprising experts and stakeholders from private sector, academia, civil society, and the public sector, was established in July 2023 to explore effective strategies for mitigating the risks posed by AI and deepfakes whilst safely unlocking opportunities. This task force is considering the beneficial applications of AI, ensuring that our approach balances innovation with the protection of our democratic values and economic and social development goals. The work of the task force will be used to inform a holistic national AI strategy and policy.

Minister Morris Dixon also added that: “These strategic policy initiatives will not be short-term fixes but part of a long-term strategy to safeguard our society against the potential abuses of technology. Through regulation, education, and collaboration, we aim to foster an environment where technological advancements serve to enhance, rather than undermine, our democratic principles and development goals.”

The Government of Jamaica has been at the forefront of these discussions, emphasizing the dual nature of AI technologies: their potential for innovation and their capacity for misuse. Last week, Senator Dr. Morris Dixon travelled to Slovenia to participate in UNESCO’s Global Forum on the Ethics of AI. At the Global Forum, Minister Morris Dixon engaged in a high-level discussion on international cooperation on setting best practices for the development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence tools. The Forum covered several topics, such as a regional approach to advance ethical governance, AI as an item on the global cooperation agenda, and re-engineering local governance systems.

In recognizing the gravity of the situation, Minister Morris Dixon has started the process for local and international consideration of regulatory measures and a comprehensive adoption strategy, which reflects the commitment within the Government of Jamaica to promptly address this challenge.

The Administration will also explore bipartisan discussions to establish consensus for the responsible use of AI in political campaigning. The Government of Jamaica is completely committed to the development and adoption of responsible AI practices.