In an effort to address the growing concern of AI-powered robocalls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on a Notice of Inquiry, proposed by Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. The inquiry aims to examine how existing consumer protections, particularly the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, can combat scammers and spammers using AI technology.

Rosenworcel highlighted the dual nature of AI technology, acknowledging its potential to enhance accessibility and responsiveness in phone-based interactions. She emphasized, “There is significant potential to use this technology to benefit communications networks and their customers, including in the fight against junk robocalls and robotexts.”

Industries heavily reliant on voice-based communication, such as customer service, are already exploring how automation and generative AI can amplify human agents’ efficiency. For instance, AI could consult knowledge bases and craft customized responses for callers, making interactions more personalized and efficient.

However, the same AI technologies that improve customer service can be misused for fraudulent purposes. Tailored scams targeting individuals based on their profession, age, or location could become more prevalent.

To proactively combat this emerging threat, the FCC has launched this inquiry. Chairwoman Rosenworcel outlined several key aspects that the inquiry will focus on, including:

  1. The alignment of AI technologies with the Commission’s responsibilities under the TCPA.
  2. Determining when future AI technologies should fall under the TCPA.
  3. Assessing the impact of AI on existing regulatory frameworks and future policy formulation.
  4. Considering ways to verify the authenticity of AI-generated content from trusted sources.
  5. Identifying necessary next steps to advance the inquiry.

While the inquiry might seem complex, it serves as a crucial preliminary step for the FCC in adapting its regulations to the evolving technological landscape. As AI continues to advance, the FCC must stay ahead of the curve to protect consumers from the increasing threat of AI-powered robocalls.