Elon Musk backs prominent tech ethics group calling for investigation into OpenAI’s GPT training

A prominent tech ethics group plans to file a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission urging the regulator to halt further commercial deployment of new generations of artificial intelligence technology that powers the popular OpenAI Inc. tool ChatGPT.

The complaint from the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy, which is led by longtime privacy advocate Marc Rotenberg, centres on GPT-4, the language model behind the research group Open AI’s ChatGPT, a computer program designed to convincingly simulate human conversation.

The group plans to ask the FTC to start an investigation into OpenAI to determine if the commercial release of the fourth generation of the tool violates US and global regulations.

Rotenberg was one of more than 1,000 people who signed onto a public letter on Wednesday calling on developers to pause training AI models on GPT-4 for at least six months.

“What we need is a practical solution and that practical solution comes from the Federal Trade Commission,” Rotenberg said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“What we need them to do is enjoin OpenAI to prevent further releases of GPT until adequate safeguards are available.”

Representatives for OpenAI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC also didn’t immediately respond.

The complaint from Rotenberg’s group, which he is set to submit on Thursday morning, will call on the FTC to open the investigation and “ensure the establishment of necessary guardrails to protect consumers, businesses, and the commercial marketplace.”

The letter on Wednesday came as the FTC vowed to take a hard look at the burgeoning artificial intelligence industry.

FTC Chair Lina Khan spoke at a conference this week and said the agency is paying close attention to developments in artificial intelligence to ensure the field isn’t dominated by the major tech platforms.

OpenAI is backed by Microsoft Corp., which along with Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been using artificial intelligence to enhance their search engines.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was among the public letter’s signatories, highlighting the growing rift between Musk and OpenAI.

Though Musk previously backed the research group, he left on sour terms in 2018.

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Elon Musk backs prominent tech ethics group calling for investigation into OpenAI’s GPT training