OpenAI To Launch Anti-Disinformation Tools For Elections In 2024


ChatGPT creator OpenAI is taking concrete steps to ensure that its generative artificial intelligence tools won’t be used to manipulate the outcomes of key elections coming up later this year. With elections due this year in countries like the United States, India and Britain, OpenAI said on Monday that it will not allow its tech — including ChatGPT, and the image generator DALL-E 3 — to be used for political campaigns.

“We want to make sure our technology is not used in a way that could undermine” the democratic process, OpenAI said in a blog post. “We’re still working to understand how effective our tools might be for personalised persuasion. Until we know more, we don’t allow people to build applications for political campaigning and lobbying,” the organisation added.

The company also announced its commitment to preventing abuse and enhancing transparency around AI-generated content, as well as the steps it will take to facilitate access to accurate information about voting.

“As we prepare for elections in 2024 across the world’s largest democracies, our approach is to continue our platform safety work by elevating accurate voting information, enforcing measured policies and improving transparency,” the company stated in the post.

Fears over election disinformation began years ago, but the public availability of potent AI text and image generators has boosted the threat, experts say; especially if users cannot easily tell if the content they see is fake or manipulated.

With the year poised to be a big one for elections globally, more than 50 countries — home to over half of the world’s population — are expected to hold democratic elections in 2024.

Besides the U.S. elections set to take place in November, the U.K. is widely expected to hold a general election later this year. Big democracies including India, Indonesia, Pakistan and South Africa will also vote for new presidents.

Likewise, countries such as Bangladesh, El Salvador, Mexico, Russia, Senegal and South Sudan are slated to vote for their leaders at some point this year, while the European Union is expected to hold parliamentary elections in June.

With so much at stake in so many countries, OpenAI said it’s not taking any chances, and will employ a combination of red teaming user engagement for feedback, safety guardrails, and other tools to minimise the risk of its tools being abused to sway election outcomes.

For instance, OpenAI’s image generation tool DALL-E has been given guardrails that are supposed to prevent it from creating images of real people, including election candidates. One of the new enhancements announced today is a provenance classifier that can detect images created using the DALL-E tool.

OpenAI said it’s making this feature available to beta testers, including some journalists, platforms and researchers. In addition, ChatGPT will integrate real-time news reporting globally to enhance transparency around information sources.

OpenAI’s efforts to ensure the integrity of elections came at a time when confidence in electoral processes around the world appears to be eroding. According to a 2022 survey by the Brennan Centre for Justice, 64% of election officials from around the world stated that “the spread of false information has made their jobs more dangerous.”

OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman has also voiced his own concerns, telling a Senate Judiciary Committee last May that his worst fears are that “the technology industry [could] cause significant harm to the world.”

Although some may see OpenAI’s announcement as an encouraging sign, the longstanding concerns about the use of technology to create misinformation and manipulate elections should have prompted it to come up with these safeguards much earlier, said Charles King of Pund-IT Inc. A number of OpenAI’s rivals, including Google LLC and Meta Platforms Inc., have also announced measures that are being put in place to prevent their technologies and platforms from being used to spread misinformation.














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