The Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), a tech ethics group, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate OpenAI for violating consumer protection rules. CAIDP claims that OpenAI’s AI text generation tools have been “biased, deceptive, and a risk to public safety.”
The complaint comes after a prominent open letter called for a pause on large generative AI experiments. CAIDP President Marc Rotenberg and OpenAI co-founder Elon Musk were among the 1100+ letter signatories. The complaint calls for slower development of generative AI models and stricter government oversight.
CAIDP’s complaint raises concerns about potential threats from OpenAI’s GPT-4 generative text model, which was announced in mid-March. It warns of the potential for GPT-4 to produce malicious code and highly tailored propaganda and the risk that biased training data could result in baked-in stereotypes or unfair race and gender preferences in hiring.
The complaint also mentions significant privacy failures with OpenAI’s product interface, such as a recent bug that exposed OpenAI ChatGPT histories and possibly payment details of ChatGPT plus subscribers.
OpenAI has acknowledged potential threats from AI text generation, but the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP) argues that GPT-4 has gone too far and poses a risk to consumers, warranting regulatory action.
CAIDP seeks to hold OpenAI accountable for violating Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices. The complaint claims that OpenAI knowingly released GPT-4 to the public for commercial use despite the risks, including potential bias and harmful behavior.
The complaint also describes AI hallucinations as a form of deception, warning that ChatGPT could promote deceptive commercial statements and advertising, potentially bringing it under the FTC’s purview.
CAIDP’s complaint asks the FTC to stop any further commercial deployment of GPT models and require independent assessments of the models before future rollouts. It also requests the creation of a publicly accessible reporting tool similar to the one that allows consumers to file fraud complaints. Additionally, it seeks firm rulemaking on the FTC’s regulations for generative AI systems, building on the agency’s ongoing research and evaluation of AI tools.
The FTC has expressed interest in regulating AI tools and has warned that biased AI systems could draw enforcement action. During a joint event this week with the Department of Justice, FTC Chair Lina Khan said the agency would look for signs of large incumbent tech companies trying to lock out competition. However, an investigation of OpenAI, one of the major players in the generative AI arms race, would represent a significant leap in the FTC’s efforts, as noted by CAIDP.