OpenAI is promising to monitor the use of its artificial intelligence tools as 2024 election races in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe heat up.
With domestic voting starting Monday at the GOP Iowa caucus — won by former President Donald Trump — and the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary next week, OpenAI said it wants to “make sure our technology is not used in a way that could undermine this process.”
“Like any new technology, these tools come with benefits and challenges,” the San Francisco company said in a statement outlining its plans for the 2024 election year. “They are also unprecedented, and we will keep evolving our approach as we learn more about how our tools are used.”
In addition to the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, balloting will take place in more than 50 countries this year, including the United Kingdom, India, Mexico and Indonesia, The Associated Press reported.
“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,” OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and the image generator DALL-E said. “We have a cross-functional effort dedicated to election work, bringing together expertise from our safety systems, threat intelligence, legal, engineering, and policy teams to quickly investigate and address potential abuse.”
The company said it will work “to anticipate and prevent relevant abuse — such as misleading ‘deepfakes,’ scaled influence operations, or chatbots impersonating candidates.” It noted that DALL-E “has guardrails to decline requests that ask for image generation of real people, including candidates.” Its tools also can’t be used to create chatbots that masquerade as real people like candidates or institutions like local governments.
The company said it is still “working to understand” how its tools might be personalized to persuade individuals. “Until we know more, we don’t allow people to build applications for political campaigning and lobbying.”
And it doesn’t allow applications that deter people from voting or misrepresent the qualifications needed for voting.
OpenAI said it is also working to produce better transparency around the creation of images and the ability to detect which tools were used to create them.
And it’s “integrating” with information sources, including real-time news reporting, including attribution and links, to provide better transparency on the origin of information, along with working with authorities to provide correct voting information.
The pledge comes amid expectations that 2024 will produce record spending on political advertising in the U.S., as not only the presidential contest but also all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 33 U.S. Senate seats and 14 governor races vie for voters’ attention.
Political advertising across all platforms is expected to soar to $17 billion, up 31% from 2020 and 24% over the $12.8 billion spent in 2022, The Los Angeles Times reported, citing projections from Group M.
Of the total, between $8 billion and $9 billion is expected to be spent on local TV, which is more frequently viewed by older viewers who may be less knowledgeable about how to spot AI-generated ads.
One topic that could be ripe for targeted misinformation is abortion, which is expected to be the subject of referendum on multiple ballots across the country. The Times reported that the November vote on an abortion referenda in Ohio generated $70 million in ad spending by groups on both sides of the issue.
Most streaming services have added an advertising tier, as well, opening up more options for ad spending as the political season heats up.
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