Generative AI, content provenance and a public service internet

11 July 2023

This note provides a summary of workshop discussions exploring the potential of digital content provenance and a ‘public service internet’.  

The workshop was jointly hosted by the Royal Society and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on 14 and 15 September 2022 at Carlton House Terrace and Broadcasting House, following the Society’s report The online information environment: Understanding how the internet shapes people’s engagement with scientific information, published in January 2022.  

Since this workshop, the topic of artificial intelligence and large language models (such as OpenAI’s generative pre-trained transformers, or GPT) has also attracted significant interest in public discourse. High-profile debates within governments and industry have centred on how to regulate these technologies to prevent major societal harms and misinformation. 

The note explores how digital content provenance, while imperfect and limited, could be a promising and critically important solution that needs to be considered to address the challenge of AI-generated misinformation.