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A digital advocacy and research group wants to “hit the pause button” on generative AI platforms.

This week the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP) filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charging that OpenAI’s recently launched GPT-4 product violates federal consumer protection law and poses grave risks to the public.

CAIDP has asked the FTC to open an investigation and then to suspend the further deployment of GPT commercial products until the company complies with the FTC Guidance for AI products.

“The FTC has a clear responsibility to investigate and prohibit unfair and deceptive trade practices. We believe that the FTC should look closely at OpenAI and GPT-4″, said Marc Rotenberg, President and General Counsel of the Center. “We are specifically asking the FTC to determine whether the company has complied with the guidance the federal agency has issued”.

Warnings cannot “deter bad actors”

A press release from the CAIDP noted that the FTC itself recently told American companies advertising AI products that “Merely warning your customers about misuse or telling them to make disclosures is hardly sufficient to deter bad actors. Your deterrence measures should be durable, built-in features and not bug corrections or optional features that third parties can undermine via modification or removal.”

The CAIDP’s complaint quotes extensively from the GPT-4 System Card, a technical description of the product, highlighting the areas of “Disinformation and influence operations”, “Proliferation of conventional and unconventional weapons”, and “Cybersecurity”.

The general threat posed by AI

The group’s FTC filing follows a recent open letter signed by Elon Musk as well as AI experts and industry executives. The document calls for “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”. The pause is needed, the letter says, because of AI’s “potentially catastrophic effects on society”.

Merve Hickok, Chair and Research Director of CAIDP, in her testimony before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month, warned that “we do not have the guardrails in place, the laws that we need, the public education, or the expertise in government to manage the consequences of the rapid changes that are now taking place.”