Jan 15, 2024 - Business

OpenAI unveils plans for tackling abuse ahead of 2024 elections

Illustration of eye emojis with the OpenAI logo in the pupil

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

ChatGPT maker OpenAI says it's rolling out new policies and tools meant to combat misinformation and abuse ahead of 2024 elections worldwide.

Why it matters: 2024 is one of the biggest election years in history — with high-stakes races in over 50 countries globally. It's also the first major election cycle where generative AI tools will be widely available to voters, governments and political campaigns.

What's happening: In a statement published Monday, OpenAI said it will lean into verified news and image authenticity programs to ensure users get access to high-quality information throughout elections.

  • The company will add digital credentials set by a third-party coalition of AI firms that encode details about the origin of images created using its image generator tool, DALL-E 3.
  • The firm says it's experimenting with a new "provenance classifier" tool that can detect AI-generated images that have been made using DALL-E. It hopes to make that tool available to its first group of testers, including journalists, researchers and other tech platforms, for feedback.
  • OpenAI will continue integrating its ChatGPT platform with real-time news reporting globally, "including attribution and links," it said. That effort builds on a first-of-its-kind deal announced with German media giant Axel Springer last year that offers ChatGPT users summaries of select global news content from the company's outlets.
  • In the U.S., OpenAI says it's working with the nonpartisan National Association of Secretaries of State to direct ChatGPT users to CanIVote.org for authoritative information on U.S. voting and elections.

Between the lines: Because generative AI technology is so new, OpenAI says it's still working to understand how effective its tools might be for political persuasion.

  • To hedge against abuse, the firm doesn't allow people to build applications for political campaigning and lobbying, and it doesn't allow engineers to create chatbots that pretend to be real people, such as candidates.
  • Like most tech firms, it doesn't allow users to build applications for its ChatGPT platform that deter people from participating in the democratic process.

Yes, but: Those policies can change based on the evolution of OpenAI's technology.

  • Case-in-point: Last week, the firm quietly deleted language from its policies that expressly prohibited the use of its technology for military purposes, The Intercept reported.

The big picture: Social media and search platforms have spent many years developing rules and tools to combat abuse during elections. But they still struggle to stop abuse due to their massive size.

  • Their efforts have at least created a roadmap for firms like OpenAI to follow as they scale publicly.

Go deeper: How generative AI will impact elections around the world

Go deeper