How generative artificial intelligence will affect freedom of expression is a burning question that the Norwegian Board of Technology and the Norwegian National Human Rights Institution wish collaborate to put on the agenda.

In 2022, the Freedom of Expression Commission determined that the internet has become “a basic infrastructure for a modern democratic rule of law and therefore a condition for freedom of expression and information”.

Search engines, social media and websites have revolutionized people’s access to information. Generative artificial intelligence tools are about to influence and perhaps even change this infrastructure.

Although deepfakes, disinformation and fake news are not new phenomena online, generative artificial intelligence makes it easier and cheaper to produce images, videos and audio clips, on a much larger scale than before. The technology is becoming increasingly accessible and can be used by anyone, including malicious actors. For example, they can use the tools to produce and spread fake images and news. This can create uncertainty about what is true and what is not, and undermine trust in information sources.

If the internet is flooded with synthetic and machine-generated content, it can create an information and trust crisis in society, where access to true information becomes limited. It could also threaten free opinion formation.

In this project, we will consider the following questions:

  • What is generative artificial intelligence, and how can the technology affect freedom of expression and the digital public?
  • What will happen when machines can easily produce – and dominate – meaningful online media content?
  • Can the technology be used to influence and manipulate public opinion and democratic elections and processes?
  • What regulatory, political and technical solutions are needed? There are many unsolved questions related to the technology’s development and use, and the effects on society as a whole. These issues will be mapped and explained in a joint report in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Background for the collaboration:

The Norwegian Board of Technology and the Norwegian National Human Rights Institution want to work together to put current and politically relevant trends in technology and human rights on the agenda. Common to our mandates is to give advice to the Storting and other authorities, and to inform the general public. Also thematically, our institutions have many meeting points. Technology, law, ethics and politics are almost always closely intertwined.

The collaboration started in 2022. Then the theme of the collaboration was the metaverse and virtual reality, and the project resulted in the report The Metaverse and human rights.


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