Tuesday, federal agencies in the United States announced their plans to clamp down on automated systems that can result in detrimental business practices, such as unlawful bias and discrimination.
In a joint statement, the agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, vowed to protect consumers, according to a report by The Hill.
The departments asserted they would work toward “core principles of fairness, equality, and justice as emerging automated systems… become increasingly common in our daily lives – impacting civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection, and equal opportunity.”
They added that they will ensure that rapidly evolving automated systems such as artificial intelligence are used in accordance with U.S. federal law.
“We already see how AI tools can turbocharge fraud and automate discrimination, and we won’t hesitate to use the full scope of our legal authorities to protect Americans from these threats,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan in a statement.
“Technological advances can deliver critical innovation—but claims of innovation must not be cover for lawbreaking. There is no AI exemption to the laws on the books, and the FTC will vigorously enforce the law to combat unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition,” she added.
The proliferation of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as the ever-popular ChatGPT and competing chatbots, has prompted concerns over potential national security risks and repercussions, as a recent report outlined.
The tools are being released in accordance with standards primarily established by the technology sector. According to experts, this raises concerns about how these tools may be abused by malicious actors or simply go haywire during commercial use.
“It’s the Wild West right now. And we are way early on in the process of understanding consequences,” said Roger Cressey, a former National Security Council member in the Clinton and Bush administrations.
“At this point, the most important thing we can do is not accept anything that is coming to market at face value, and instead ask a bunch of basic questions,” he added.
ChatGPT emerged in November, and its popularity has exploded since then.
Microsoft, which invested billions in the OpenAI tool, increased its use of generative AI technology in its products over the subsequent months.
Microsoft announced on Monday that other tools, such as those used by customer service divisions to create virtual agents, will incorporate new features enabled by ChatGPT's technology.
The most recent announcement follows Microsoft's limited preview deployment of a new Bing search engine that integrates ChatGPT into search. Google introduced Bard, a rival generative AI chatbot, in the same week that Microsoft introduced Bing.