OpenAI bans long-shot presidential candidate bot for breaking T&Cs
Biden's challenger model shot down despite super PAC support
A ChatGPT-powered bot trained to mimic Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) - the long-shot challenger to Joe Biden - is dead before it had a chance to woo voters after OpenAI banned its developer for violating its T&Cs.
"Anyone who builds with our tools must follow our usage policies," OpenAI confirmed to The Register today. "We recently removed a developer account that was knowingly violating our API usage policies which disallow political campaigning, or impersonating an individual without consent."
Dean.bot appeared online last week as the brainchild of a political action committee (PAC) with ties to Silicon Valley called "We Deserve Better" that reportedly formed in November of last year. The bot was created by Delphi, an AI startup focused on mimicking the opinions and speech of real people.
Unfortunately for We Deserve Better, the very nature of being a super PAC - which are allowed to raise unlimited funds for spending on campaign ads - means they ran afoul of several OpenAI usage policies.
Not even the presence of Matt Krisiloff, a founding member of OpenAI, at the head of the PAC made a difference. Initially reported by The Washington Post, OpenAI killed the bot by banning Delphi's ChatGPT developer account.
Phillips' campaign confirmed to us that the campaign didn't endorse the bot's creation. "The very nature of super PACs means we legally could not discuss any aspect of what they are doing," a campaign spokesperson told us, adding that the campaign has no plans to create its own comparable AI candidate.
Leave it to tech bros to think unauthorized AI clones are okay
Krisiloff was joined in the super PAC by Jed Somers, a former Barclays research analyst and current COO at Owner.com, an online platform for restaurant ordering designed as an alternative to sites like Doordash and GrubHub.
The pair have reportedly raised millions for We Deserve Better, driven in part by a $1 million donation from hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, who described his funding of the super PAC as "the largest investment I have ever made in someone running for office."
The bot itself was built by AI startup Delphi, which as we reported last year has previously waded into political AI chatbot waters with its Chat2024 website. The site was touted as a way to "cut through the noise" with authentic representations of all declared candidates in the 2024 US Presidential race.
Of course, accuracy isn't guaranteed: While Dean.bot may no longer be functioning, a disclaimer on its website (which is still available), states that the bot is meant to be a "fun, educational tool," but admits it isn't perfect.
"The voice bot sounds like [Dean Phillips] and is programmed to draw on his ideas, but it's possible it will say things that are wrong, incorrect, or shouldn't be said," the site warns users.
So, it might create its own facts just like any flesh-and-blood politician.
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Like the Dean Phillips bot, Chat2024 is no longer available. It's not clear if Chat2024 is offline due to Delphi's violations of the OpenAI usage policies. We've asked, but haven't heard back.
Delphi's business model is built around "cloning" people so internet users can interact with their favorite celebrities - or so you can preserve all of grandma's valuable insight from Facebook. But it's not clear whether the company always gets the okay to do so.
Delphi's has taken some high-profile swings at creating AI chatbots based on real people, like deceased Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, but AI Steve appears to be missing from Delphi's collection of bots, too. Most AI oracles available from Delphi appear to have instead been created by folks looking to market their expertise as business coaches or self-help gurus, with a smattering of US presidents and dead philosophers available.
Krisiloff was apparently aware of Delphi's misuse of OpenAI technology, saying he had asked the developers to switch Dean.bot from running on ChatGPT to an open-source alternative. Alas, it doesn't appear to matter: DigiDean is dead, and just a day before New Hampshire's Democratic party primaries, where incumbent President Joe Biden won't be on the ballot after a spat between the national and state parties over the primary date. ®