US agency streamlines probes related to artificial intelligence

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and computer motherboard

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Investigations of cases where artificial intelligence (AI) is used to break the law will be streamlined under a new process approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the agency said on Tuesday.

The move, along with other actions, highlights the FTC's interest in pursuing cases involving AI. Critics of the technology have said that it could be used to turbo-charge fraud.

The agency, which now has three Democrats, voted unanimously to make it easier for staff to issue a demand for documents as part of an investigation if it is related to AI, the agency said in a statement.

In a hearing in September, Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, a Democrat who has been nominated to another term, agreed with two Republicans nominated to the agency that the agency should focus on issues like use of AI to make phishing emails and robocalls more convincing.

The agency announced a competition last week aimed at identifying the best way to protect consumers against fraud and other harms related to voice cloning.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Marguerita Choy)