Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Jessica Rosenworcel (pictured) used an event to highlight the potential threat of AI-generated robocalls and text messages, and proposed the regulator take a closer look at the matters.

Rosenworcel’s proposed inquiry would examine the strengths and weaknesses of using AI to protect consumers from robocalls and texts under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which empowers the agency to act against unwanted spam calls.

She noted the FCC received 120,000 complaints about robocalls in 2022 and stated the US Federal Trade Commission found 20 per cent of the fraud cases it handles started with a phone call.

“We’ve got to come up with new ways to address it”, she said, highlighting “the same kind of scams over texting through robotexts” as an emerging threat.

Rosenworcel noted AI could be a powerful tool for accessibility and to perform tasks that typically require human participation.

She stated AI provided an opportunity for communications to become “more efficient, more impactful and more resilient”, with significant potential to use it to combat junk robocalls and robotexts.

If Rosenworcel’s plan is approved, the FCC would seek public comment on methods to authenticate AI voice or SMS, and consider how the technology impacts regulatory frameworks and future policies and whether additional steps are needed to advance the proposal.