The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will investigate whether OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot violated consumer protection laws.
OpenAI, the creator of popular generative AI chatbot ChatGPT is facing yet another legal challenge regarding its creation.
With this new probe, the US competition regulator aims to find out what the company’s data privacy rules are and what action it takes to stop its technology from giving out incorrect information.
As part of the investigation, the FTC has sent OpenAI a 20-page letter requesting detailed information on its AI technology, products, customers, privacy safeguards and data security arrangements, according to The Washington Post.
The letter also requests information regarding the steps taken by OpenAI to address their products’ potential to “generate statements about real individuals that are false, misleading, disparaging or harmful”.
OpenAI founder Sam Altman said he was disappointed that the news had been leaked, but noted the company would work with the FTC.
“It’s super important to us that our technology is safe and pro-consumer, and we are confident we follow the law,” he tweeted. “We protect user privacy and design our systems to learn about the world, not private individuals.”
However, developers have acknowledged that the tools remain “a work in progress”, with OpenAI acknowledging that some versions of ChatGPT can be “very unreliable” on texts under 1,000 characters and that AI-written text can also be edited to trick the classifier.
Moreover, the rise of generative AI tools has also provoked concerns regarding copyright infringement. In fact, OpenAI is currently sued by two authors and comedian Sarah Silverman, who claim the chatbot was trained on their copyrighted material.
OpenAI’s CEO himself has been a loud voice in the push for further AI regulation. In May, Altman testified before a US Senate committee about the possibilities and dangers of the new technology that powers ChatGPT.
“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong… we want to be vocal about that,” Altman said. “We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”
The FTC probe is also not the company’s first clash with government agencies over privacy concerns. Some, like Italy, opted to issue a temporary ban on the technology, while China has unveiled draft measures to make companies responsible for the data used to train generative AI models. In contrast, El Salvador has decided to promote the development of these technologies by providing significant tax benefits.
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