October 1, 2023

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ChatGPT probed by FTC over consumer harms

The FTC’s investigation opens a potent regulatory salvo at San Francisco-based OpenAI, the leader in generative AI technology whose ChatGPT app has sparked a race among companies across nearly every industry to develop their own competing chatbots. ChatGPT is built atop a large language model, which is trained on enormous swaths of text from the internet so that it can generate responses to questions in a way that sounds human-like.

The probe “is a significant development that could have implications for both the company and the broader AI innovation sector,” said Divyansh Kaushik, associate director for emerging technologies and national security at the Federation of American Scientists, a non-partisan think tank in Washington. “It signals that regulators are becoming more proactive in ensuring that AI companies operate ethically and responsibly.”

The rapid rise of the technology in the past eight months since ChatGPT become widely available has prompted calls for regulation and a pause in training of advanced AI systems, even among the heads of some of the leading companies in the field, such as OpenAI, Anthropic and Alphabet Inc.’s DeepMind. 

More news: ChatGPT quickly became a brand success

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been an outspoken proponent of regulation. In a May hearing, Altman said Congress should create robust safety standards for advanced AI systems. “If this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong,” Altman said. Twitter owner Elon Musk has also been one of the loudest voices warning about the potential consequences of mainstreaming AI. 


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