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FTC urged to freeze OpenAI's 'biased, deceptive' GPT-4

AI policy wonks slam chatty hallucination-prone model in formal complaint

The Center for AI and Digital Policy, a non-profit research organization, has urged America's Federal Trade Commission to investigate OpenAI, claiming the upstart violated commerce laws by releasing GPT-4, a product the center believes deceives and puts folks at risk.

In a complaint [PDF] to the consumer watchdog, filed on Thursday, the CAIDP called on officials to examine and maybe regulate OpenAI's generative AI technology, especially its latest GPT-4 model.

"The Federal Trade Commission has declared that the use of AI should be 'transparent, explainable, fair, and empirically sound while fostering accountability'," the policy center said. "OpenAI's product GPT-4 satisfies none of these requirements. It is time for the FTC to act.

"There should be independent oversight and evaluation of commercial AI products offered in the United States. CAIDP urges the FTC to open an investigation into OpenAI, enjoin further commercial releases of GPT-4, and ensure the establishment of necessary guardrails to protect consumers, businesses, and the commercial marketplace."

The group highlighted shortcomings and risks highlighted in GPT-4's System Card, a report outlining technical capabilities of the model.

OpenAI has admitted GPT-4 is far from perfect; it can perpetuate biases, generate harmful text, and spread false information that misleads users. The startup's CEO Sam Altman has even gone as far to say he's actually "a little bit scared" of the technology's impact on society.

The backend systems managing OpenAI's models were also found to be insecure, leaking people's personal information and payment details.

Under Section 5 of the FTC Act, "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce" are prohibited. The CAIDP claimed OpenAI has misled netizens by launching a product that is "biased, deceptive, and a risk to privacy and public safety," despite knowing the dangers it poses. OpenAI was also criticized in the complaint for not being more transparent about its model and training data.

"CAIDP urges the commission to initiate an investigation into OpenAI and find that the commercial release of GPT-4 violates Section 5 of the FTC Act, the FTC's well-established guidance to businesses on the use and advertising of AI products, as well as the emerging norms for the governance of AI that the United States government has formally endorsed and the Universal Guidelines for AI that leading experts and scientific societies have recommended."

The group has asked the FTC to halt all further commercial deployment of OpenAI's GPT-based products, conduct an independent assessment of its technology, and make sure it complies with the FTC's rules before it can go back on the market. Although the trade watchdog has recently published statements warning companies about overhyping and releasing AI products that can be misused, cracking down on GPT-4 and OpenAI would be a very tall order.

The Register has asked OpenAI for comment. And no, we're not going to ask ChatGPT for an answer, for reasons that should be apparent by now. ®

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