National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt spoke out on the potential dangers of Artificial Intelligence on Monday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. “This is an area where NAB will absolutely be active,” he asserted of AI, which is one of the buzziest topics this week at the annual convention. “It is just amazing how quickly the relevance of AI to our entire economy — but specifically, since we’re in this room, the broadcast industry — has gone from amorphous concept to real.”

LeGeyt warned of several concerns that he has for local broadcasters, the first being issues surrounding “big tech” taking broadcast content and not fairly compensating broadcasters for its use. “We have been fighting for legislation to put some guardrails on it,” LeGeyt said. “AI has the potential to put that on overdrive. We need to ensure that our stations, our content creators are going to be fairly compensated.”

He added that he worries for journalists. “We’re already under attack for any slip-up we might have with regard to misreporting on a story. Well, you’re gonna have to do a heck of a lot more diligence to ensure that whatever you are reporting on is real, fact-based information and not just some AI bot that happens to look like Joe Biden.” Finally, he warned of images and likenesses being misappropriated where AI is involved.

“I want to wave the caution flag on some of these areas,” he said. “I think this could be really damaging for local broadcast.”

During his talk, he also outlines was he sees as potential opportunities. “My own view is there are some real potentially hyperlocal benefits to AI,” he said, citing as examples translation services and the ability to speed up research at “resource-constrained local stations.” He asserted, “Investigative journalism is never going to be replaced by AI. Our role at local community events, philanthropic work, is never going to be replaced by AI. But to the degree that we can leverage AI to do some of the things that are time-consuming and take away your ability to be boots on the ground doing the things that only you can do well, I think that’s a positive.”

Also addressed during the session was the voluntary rollout of the next generation of digital television, known as ATSC 3.0, which may include capabilities such as free, live broadcasting to mobile devices. A change of this magnitude has a lot of moving parts and has a long way to go before its potential can be realized.

At NAB, FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel was on hand to announce the Future of Television Initiative, which she described as a public-private partnership among stakeholders to support a transition to ATSC 3.0. “With over 60 percent of Americans already in range of a Next Gen TV signal, we are excited to work closely with all stakeholders, including the FCC, to bring Next Gen TV and all of its benefits to all viewers,” said LeGeyt.

During his session, LeGeyt also addressed “fierce competition for the dashboard” as part of a discussion of connected cars. “It’s not enough for any one [broadcaster] to innovate. If we are all not rowing in the same direction as an industry, … we are going to lose this arms race,” he warned.

Citing competition from the likes of Spotify, he contends that the local content offered by broadcasters gives them a “competitive advantage.”

The NAB Show runs through Wednesday.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

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