Updated Jan 21, 2024 - Politics & Policy

OpenAI suspends developer behind Dean Phillips bot

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), a Democratic presidential candidate, celebrates his birthday with a cake on Jan. 20 in New Hampshire. Photo: Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg via Getty Images

OpenAI has banned the developer of a bot that mimicked Democratic White House hopeful Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.).

Why it matters: The suspension is the first known instance where the maker of ChatGPT has restricted the use of artificial intelligence in political campaigns.

Details: OpenAI suspended the account of the start-up Delphi, which had been contracted to build Dean.Bot, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

  • Dean.Bot, which could talk to voters in real-time via a website, was taken down by the start-up following the suspension, per The Post.
  • The bot stemmed from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Matt Krisiloff and Jed Somers, who started a super PAC in support of Phillips.
  • The super PAC — We Deserve Better — has gotten $1 million from Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has garnered recent headlines for standing among the handful of billionaires publicly debating the merits and legality of DEI initiatives.

What they're saying: "Anyone who builds with our tools must follow our usage policies," a spokesperson for OpenAI said in a statement shared with Axios on Sunday.

  • "We recently removed a developer account that was knowingly violating our API usage policies which disallow political campaigning, or impersonating an individual without consent."

Zoom out: The suspension and subsequent bot removal occurred shortly before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, where Phillips continues his long-shot presidential bid against President Biden — the incumbent and Democratic frontrunner.

Go deeper: Bill Ackman donating $1M to Dean Phillips' White House bid

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from OpenAI.

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