Artificial intelligence could make it much harder to spot scams, the Apple co-founder said.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has warned that artificial intelligence could be used by “bad actors” and make it harder to spot scams and misinformation.

Wozniak, who founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs, is credited as the brains behind the invention of the company’s first computer. During an interview with the BBC, he said AI content “should be clearly labelled”, and called for regulation of the AI sector.

A growing chorus calls for caution on AI

The Silicon Valley denizen was one of the high profile tech gurus who signed a letter in March calling for a six-month pause in the development of powerful AI systems. The letter, which was also signed by Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk, argued that AI services such as ChatGPT could have “potentially catastrophic effects on society”, and demanded that further development of GPT platforms be paused for at least 6 months.

Musk’s letter accompanied a move by the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), which filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charging that OpenAI’s GPT-4 product violates federal consumer protection law and poses grave risks to the public.

Wozniak told the BBC that “AI is so intelligent it’s open to the bad players, the ones that want to trick you about who they are.” He added that, while he doesn’t believe AI will replace people because it lacks emotion, he did believe that AI will make bad actors relatively more convincing, because programmes like ChatGPT can create text which “sounds so intelligent”.

Profits over people

Wozniak believes that, ultimately, people need to take responsibility for their creations, and those who publish AI-created content and product should bear the responsibility for whatever arises from that publication. “A human really has to take the responsibility for what is generated by AI,” he stated.

He went on to say that it is most important for the big tech firms to be held to account, even though they “feel they can kind of get away with anything”.

That mission may prove futile, Wozniak admitted, expressing doubt that regulators would get it right: “I think the forces that drive for money usually win out, which is sort of sad”, he said.