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AI Technology: Big Techs agree to safeguards, including watermarks for AI content

The United States White House says  OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, Meta, and other AI firms have agreed to voluntary safeguards, a measure that underscores three fundamental principles to the future of AI – safety, security, and trust – and marks a critical step towards developing responsible AI

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

United States President Joe Biden’s administration has announced a number of big name players in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market have agreed to voluntary safeguards to the risks posed by the new technology.

The announcement from the White House said the voluntary commitments underscored “safety, security, and trust and mark a critical step toward developing responsible AI,” reports Silicon UK.

It was learnt the move came amid ongoing concern from experts, regulators and governments over the potential misuse of AI technologies in the years ahead.

Subsequently, President Biden Friday, July 21, 2023, met with Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI and secured “voluntary commitments from these companies to help move toward safe, secure, and transparent development of AI technology,” the White House said.

The new AI law will include regulations to govern the development of generative AI.

Companies that are developing these emerging technologies have a responsibility to ensure their products are safe, according to the White House.

Significance of AI firms’ commitments to 3 principles: White House

The White House said that these commitments, which the companies have chosen to undertake immediately, underscore three principles that must be fundamental to the future of AI – safety, security, and trust – and mark a critical step toward developing responsible AI.

The Biden-Harris Administration said it was developing an Executive Order, and would pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation.

Specifics of leading AI firms’ commitments

So, what exactly are these seven leading AI companies committing to?

Report indicates perhaps one of the most eye-catching commitments will be the use of watermarks on AI generated content, such as text, images, audio and video, after concern that deepfake content can be utilised for fraudulent and other criminal purposes.

The White House, therefore, listed the following commitments from these companies:

Ensuring safe products before introducing them to consumers

The companies commit to internal and external security testing of their AI systems before their release.

This testing, which will be carried out in part by independent experts, guards against some of the most significant sources of AI risks, such as biosecurity and cybersecurity, as well as its broader societal effects.

The companies commit to sharing information across the industry and with governments, civil society, and academia on managing AI risks.

This includes best practices for safety, information on attempts to circumvent safeguards, and technical collaboration.

Building systems that put security first

The companies commit to investing in cybersecurity and insider threat safeguards to protect proprietary and unreleased model weights.

These model weights are the most essential part of an AI system, and the companies agree that it is vital that the model weights be released only when intended and when security risks are considered.

The companies commit to facilitating third-party discovery and reporting of vulnerabilities in their AI systems.

Some issues may persist even after an AI system is released and a robust reporting mechanism enables them to be found and fixed quickly.

Earning the consumers’ trust

The companies commit to developing robust technical mechanisms to ensure that users know when content is AI generated, such as a watermarking system.

This action enables creativity with AI to flourish, but reduces the dangers of fraud and deception.

The companies are further committed to publicly reporting their AI systems’ capabilities, limitations, and areas of appropriate and inappropriate use.

This report will cover both security risks and societal risks, such as the effects on fairness and bias.

The companies as well commit to prioritising research on the societal risks that AI systems can pose, including on avoiding harmful bias and discrimination, and protecting privacy.

The track record of AI shows the insidiousness and prevalence of these dangers, and the companies commit to rolling out AI that mitigates them.

Besides, the AI firms’ commit to developing and deploying advanced AI systems to help in addressing society’s greatest challenges.

From cancer prevention to mitigating climate change to so much in between, AI – if properly managed – can contribute enormously to the prosperity, equality, and security of all.

The Biden Administration said it will work with allies and partners to establish a strong international framework to govern the development and use of AI, stated the White House.

It has already consulted on the voluntary commitments with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the UAE, and the UK, report noted.

The UK recently said it would seek to be the “geographical home” of coordinated international efforts to regulate artificial intelligence, and the UK will host an international summit on the risks and regulation of AI later this year.

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