Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec join Ottawa in investigating ChatGPT
The ChatGPT app is displayed on an iPhone in New York, Thursday, May 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Richard Drew
The governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec are joining the federal privacy commissioner in investigating the company behind the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, ChatGPT.
Alberta’s privacy authority says the joint investigation would see if OpenAI, which is the parent company of ChatGPT, obtained valid consent from Canadians to collect, use and disclose their personal information via its chatbot.
ChatGPT, which was launched in November, uses already existing information on the internet and responds to questions from users in a conversational manner.
The privacy authorities say they will also investigate if the U.S.-based company followed its obligation to transparency, access, accuracy and accountability.
Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne has said artificial intelligence and its effects on privacy are a top priority.
The federal authority launched its investigation in April.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2023.
ChatGPT makes its debut as a smartphone app on iPhones
This photo, in New York, Thursday, May 18, 2023, shows the ChatGPT app on an iPhone. The free app started to become available on iPhones in the U.S. on Thursday and will later be coming to Android phones. Unlike the web version, you can also ask it questions using your voice. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
By Matt O’brien
ChatGPT is now a smartphone app, which could be good news for people who like to use the artificial intelligence chatbot and bad news for all the clone apps that have tried to profit off the technology.
The free app became available on iPhones and iPads in the U.S. on Thursday and will later be coming to Android devices. Unlike the desktop web version, the mobile version on Apple’s iOS operating system also enables users to speak to it using their voice.
The company that makes it, OpenAI, said it will remain ad-free but “syncs your history across devices.”
“We’re starting our rollout in the U.S. and will expand to additional countries in the coming weeks,” said a blog post announcing the new app, which is described in the App Store as the “official app” by OpenAI.
It’s been more than five months since OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public, sparking excitement and alarm at its ability to generate convincingly human-like essays, poems, form letters and conversational answers to almost any question. But the San Francisco startup never seemed to be in a hurry to get it onto phones — where most people access the internet.
“We’re not trying to get people to use it more and more,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman told U.S. senators this week in a hearing over how to regulate AI systems such as those built by his company.
The delay in getting the product on phones helped fuel a rise of clones built on similar technology, some of which the security firm Sophos described as “fleeceware” in a report this week because they push unsuspecting users toward enrolling in a free trial that converts into a recurring subscription, or use intrusive advertising techniques.
Another privacy researcher, Simon Migliano, said the official ChatGPT app might eventually starve similar-sounding apps of new users, but that could take a while because many of those apps were given names deliberately intended to confuse people into thinking they already have the official app. They were also “hyper-optimized” to rank highly in Apple’s App Store search results, said Migliano, head of research at Top10VPN.com.
“For many of those who have already downloaded a clone, it’s likely they will simply stick with the ChatGPT apps they already have and continue to have their personal data harvested and sold,” Migliano said.
Altman told Congress this week that his company doesn’t try to maximize engagement because it doesn’t have an advertising-based business, and because it’s costly to train and run its AI models on computer chips known as graphics processing units.
“In fact, we’re so short on GPUs, the less people use our products, the better,” Altman said.
The new app does include an option to pay for a premium version of ChatGPT with additional features. Along with those subscriptions, the company makes money from developers and corporations that pay to integrate its AI models into their own apps and products.
Its chief partner, Microsoft, has invested billions of dollars into the startup and has integrated ChatGPT-like technology into its own products, including a chatbot for its search engine Bing.
The ChatGPT app will now compete for attention with the Bing chatbot already available on iPhones, and could eventually compete with a mobile version of rival Google’s chatbot, called Bard. Versions of OpenAI’s chatbot technology can also be found in other apps, such as the “My AI” feature on Snapchat.
ChatGPT’s chief to testify before Congress as concerns grow about artificial intelligence’s risks
The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston. The head of the artificial intelligence company that makes ChatGPT is set to testify to Congress as lawmakers call for new rules to guide the rapid development of AI technology. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is scheduled to speak at a Senate hearing Tuesday, May 16. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File
By Matt O’brien
The head of the artificial intelligence company that makes ChatGPT is set to testify before Congress as lawmakers call for new rules to guide the rapid development of AI technology.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is scheduled to speak at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
His San Francisco-based startup rocketed to public attention after its release late last year of ChatGPT, a free chatbot tool that answers questions with convincingly human-like responses.
What started out as a panic among educators about ChatGPT’s use to cheat on homework assignments has expanded to broader concerns about the ability of the latest crop of “generative AI” tools to mislead people, spread falsehoods, violate copyright protections and upend some jobs.
And while there’s no immediate sign that Congress will craft sweeping new AI rules, as European lawmakers are doing, the societal concerns brought Altman and other tech CEOs to the White House earlier this month and have led U.S. agencies to promise to crack down on harmful AI products that break existing civil rights and consumer protection laws.
“Artificial intelligence urgently needs rules and safeguards to address its immense promise and pitfalls,” said a prepared statement from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law.
Founded in 2015, OpenAI is also known for other AI products including the image-maker DALL-E. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars into the startup and has integrated its technology into its own products, including its search engine Bing.
Also testifying will be IBM’s chief privacy and trust officer, Christina Montgomery, and Gary Marcus, a professor emeritus at New York University who was among a group of AI experts who called on OpenAI and other tech firms to pause their development of more powerful AI models for six months to give society more time to consider the risks. The letter was a response to the March release of OpenAI’s latest model, GPT-4, described as more powerful than ChatGPT.
“Artificial intelligence will be transformative in ways we can’t even imagine, with implications for Americans’ elections, jobs, and security,” said the panel’s ranking Republican, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. “This hearing marks a critical first step towards understanding what Congress should do.”
Altman and other tech industry leaders have said they welcome some form of AI oversight but have cautioned against what they see as overly heavy-handed rules. In a copy of her prepared remarks, IBM’s Montgomery asks Congress to take a “precision regulation” approach.
“This means establishing rules to govern the deployment of AI in specific use-cases, not regulating the technology itself,” Montgomery said.
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