Microsoft president proposes KYC to combat AI misuse


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  • Microsoft president Brad Smith has proposed the use of KYC to combat AI misuse.
  • Global AI challenges and proactive solutions.

In an appearance before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed the role of Know Your Customer (KYC) policies in bolstering national security amid growing concerns about the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) by foreign actors. Smith emphasized the importance of KYC policies, which have long been standard practice in traditional finance, as a means to enhance accountability and mitigate AI-related threats. Smith underscored Microsoft’s advocacy for KYC policies within the AI industry.

Microsoft wants to help AI service providers

The Microsoft president also asserted that they could help AI service providers identify and thwart potential abuses of their systems. By implementing KYC measures, companies can ensure that they have comprehensive knowledge of their customers, thereby enabling them to prevent malicious activities effectively. The discussion at the Senate Committee hearing also touched upon the dangers associated with AI, particularly its potential for spreading misinformation and interfering in elections. Smith highlighted how KYC policies could play a pivotal role in combating the misuse of AI, especially in matters related to national security.

Responding to concerns raised by Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee regarding foreign interference, Smith stressed that all companies involved in AI technology development should take proactive measures to prevent the misuse of generative AI tools by foreign governments. Smith’s testimony in front of the Senate Committee marked his ongoing efforts to address AI-related challenges. Earlier in May, he urged lawmakers to expedite the establishment of AI regulations and called upon companies to take greater responsibility for safeguarding users and technology.

This included his endorsement of the idea that developers should obtain licenses before deploying AI tools. In June, the United Nations expressed its apprehensions regarding the use of AI-generated deepfakes in conflict zones, which can contribute to the propagation of hate. Smith also offered insights into Microsoft’s observations of global AI-related activities. While acknowledging substantial AI-related activities from China and Iran, he identified Russia as the most prolific actor on the global stage, having invested billions in a comprehensive influence operation.

Global AI challenges and proactive solutions

Smith pointed out that these activities had intensified following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, with a specific focus on undermining public confidence in the United States. Furthermore, Smith noted that Russia’s influence activities extended beyond the United States and were also evident in the South Pacific and Africa, underscoring the global scale of the issue. Know Your Customer (KYC) policies, which have been a fixture in the banking sector since the 1980s, have gained renewed significance in the context of Web3 and digital technology. In the Web3 space, KYC policies have become a central concern due to the varying levels of personal data required when opening an account.

Notably, U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Binance.US, Kraken, and Gemini have adopted KYC policies and implemented measures such as geo-blocking to restrict access from prohibited regions. Smith’s endorsement of KYC policies in the AI sector coincides with the mainstream adoption of AI technology. With hundreds of generative AI platforms available on both mobile devices and desktop computers, ensuring accountability and responsible usage has become paramount. In addition to advocating for KYC measures, Smith suggested that AI could also serve as a defensive tool for detecting illicit AI usage.

Microsoft, he mentioned, has made substantial investments in this area to identify and counteract the misuse of AI technology. Finally, Smith emphasized the shared responsibility of both industry stakeholders and policymakers in addressing the challenges posed by AI. He called for governments to raise their standards and refrain from exploiting AI technology to interfere in the affairs of other nations, particularly in the context of foreign elections. Smith’s testimony served as a compelling call to action for the industry and policymakers alike to collaborate in ensuring the responsible and secure use of AI in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Owotunse Adebayo

Adebayo loves to keep tab of exciting projects in the blockchain space. He is a seasoned writer who has written tons of articles about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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