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Parliamentarians discuss AI and disinformation challenges at CPA conference

A three-day online conference on AI, Disinformation and Parliament: Ensuring the Integrity of our Digital Democracy was held from 4 to 6 December 2023, organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The conference aimed to raise awareness among Parliamentarians about the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and synthetic media, such as deepfakes, and their implications for democracies and public discourse.

The conference featured panel discussions, roundtables, dialogues, explainers and Q&As with experts in the field, covering topics such as:

  • the core concepts of disinformation, AI and synthetic media
  • the threat landscape and the strategies to combat disinformation
  • the legislative environment and policies to ensure the integrity of digital democracies.

In her keynote speech on the first day of the conference, the former UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Rt Hon. Chloe Smith, MP, identified three ways that Members of Parliament can shape the way that democratic societies respond to AI:

“MPs are local champions, we are national lawmakers, and we are ambassadors for democracy. As local champions we know our constituents and we are held accountable for much of their experience of the economy or of public services. Given the widespread risks and opportunities of AI, this is a significant listening role. As national lawmakers, we are the ones who need to confront a fast new technology and be able to make intelligent provision in our law or our regulation. And as ambassadors for democracy it is us who need to be able to be confident that our democracies are robust and that people’s free choices achieve what they intend.”

The conference also provided an opportunity for Parliamentarians, academics and experts to network and exchange best practices with their counterparts from the nine CPA regions, as well as to identify key actors who can help shape the conversation around AI and disinformation.

Reflecting on the Conference, the CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, said:

"The conference was a valuable opportunity for Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to learn from experts and each other about the latest developments and challenges in AI and synthetic media, and their impact on our democracies and public discourse. I believe that legislators have a vital role to play in ensuring the integrity of our digital democracies, and I hope that the conference will inspire them to take action and collaborate with key actors in this field."

At the conference, the CPA launched its new Parliamentary Handbook on Disinformation, Artificial Intelligence and Synthetic Media. The handbook, co-produced with the Organization of American States (OAS), provides a comprehensive overview of disinformation, including its different forms and the various techniques used to spread it. It also covers the basics of AI and synthetic media, including their potential applications and implications for democracy, within and beyond the electoral cycle.

The conference and handbook form part of the CPA’s growing body of work on technology and innovation for Parliaments across the Commonwealth. The CPA hosted its first Conference on the 4th Industrial Revolution in July 2021.

-ENDS-

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.

For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.

Related Resources

Front cover of the Parliamentary Handbook on Disinformation, AI and Synthetic Media
Parliamentary Handbook on Disinformation, AI and Synthetic Media

This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of disinformation, including its different forms and the various techniques used to spread it. It also covers the basics of AI and synthetic media, including their potential applications and implications for democracy, within and beyond the electoral cycle.

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