In an effort to get ahead of potential abuses surrounding state agencies’ utilization of artificial intelligence (AI), Alaska State Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) has pre-filed a bill that addresses data privacy, cybersecurity, and political deepfakes.

State Sen. Shelley Hughes

The Alaska Legislature convenes in Juneau on Jan. 17, and a Hughes’ bill is one of dozens that were pre-filed in the lead up to the start of the legislative session.

A notice about Senate Bill 177 acknowledges that AI is increasingly available to streamline work, but it must be used with transparency and safeguards in order to avoid harming individual Alaskans and manipulating elections.

In particular, Hughes bill requires human oversite for AI, a publicly posted inventory of AI in use by state agencies, and regular impact assessments, which include a review and public report of benefits, liabilities, risks, accountability mechanisms in place, decision appeal processes, and effects on the liberty, finances, livelihood and privacy interest of individuals, among other items.

“AI is evolving ever-quickly; it is the new frontier,” Hughes said upon prefiling her bill. “We cannot stop it. It is already part of our daily lives (for example, every time you use your map program on your smartphone). As policymakers, we must work to harness this tool for good and safeguard against bad actors.”

Hughes added that it is crucial to protect the privacy of individual Alaskans.

“With the vast amount of data state agencies have and may input into algorithms that generate AI outputs, we must ensure data privacy and strong cybersecurity are as airtight as possible,” she noted.

In addition to privacy concerns, the bill also addresses political deepfakes, or digital alterations of a person, which can be used to spread false information and doctored photos and videos.

With the upcoming 2024 election in November, Hughes, like many others, is concerned AI may be used to interfere with the election process.

Technology experts and writers have been warning for months that well-timed, last minute, fake videos of politicians saying or doing something objectionable, could influence how people vote before the record is ever corrected.

Additionally, AI videos have begun to undermine a shared sense of truth, making it increasingly difficult to know whether a photo or video is authentic or AI generated.

“With easily accessible AI available to develop deepfakes, the likelihood of their creation during the 2024 election cycle is inevitable,” she said.

Hughes bill would require a clear disclosure on a political deepfake that the communication has been manipulated by AI.

“Setting parameters for state agencies and protecting Alaskans when it comes to AI – that is the purpose of this legislation,” Hughes explained. “I look forward to a lively discussion with the legislature and citizens about this emerging technology, this digital frontier, as it relates to the public arena.”

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Sen. Hughes files bill to protect Alaskans from AI manipulation and election deception

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • John J Otness says:

    Takes a brave woman to take on DOMINION…SALUTE!!!! since there are no men in our govt.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I remember President Trump warning about videos, speeches and photos being put out that could be faked. I bet that it is already being used against us! Thank you Senator Hughes for trying to get ahead of this about-to-be-problem.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Off topic, but just as important: MEA has two board seats opening up. Applications have to be received by Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 by 5 PM. Please, consider applying – we need conservatives to apply for any and all boards and other seats/positions coming open. Check the Power LInes Member Newsletter for January 2024.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Senator hughes: what does ai stand for? What’s the difference between agi and ai? Are you equipped to deal with this sophisticated system? One way you can contribute. Get off TikTok. Other than that your way in over your head!

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    By the way hughes,where the hell is our pfd. Use your shiny objects where they belong, your jewelry!