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    OpenAI admits that AI writing detectors don’t work / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 15:42

A photo of a teacher covering his eyes.

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Last week, OpenAI published tips for educators in a promotional blog post that shows how some teachers are using ChatGPT as an educational aid, along with suggested prompts to get started. In a related FAQ , they also officially admit what we already know: AI writing detectors don't work, despite frequently being used to punish students with false positives.

In a section of the FAQ titled "Do AI detectors work?", OpenAI writes , "In short, no. While some (including OpenAI) have released tools that purport to detect AI-generated content, none of these have proven to reliably distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated content."

In July, we covered in depth why AI writing detectors such as GPTZero don't work, with experts calling them "mostly snake oil." These detectors often yield false positives due to relying on unproven detection metrics. Ultimately, there is nothing special about AI-written text that always distinguishes it from human-written, and detectors can be defeated by rephrasing. That same month, OpenAI discontinued its AI Classifier, which was an experimental tool designed to detect AI-written text. It had an abysmal 26 percent accuracy rate.

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    TurboTax-maker Intuit offers an AI agent that provides financial tips / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 22:19 · 1 minute

Piggy bank on a laptop computer with a robotic hand.

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On Wednesday, TurboTax-maker Intuit launched an AI assistant called "Intuit Assist" that can provide AI-generated financial recommendations and assist with decision-making when using the company's software, Reuters reports . Inuit Assist uses a custom large language model platform called GenOS , and it is available now to all TurboTax customers and select users of Intuit's other products, including Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp, with a wider rollout planned in the coming months.

"Consumers will find it easier than ever to manage and improve their financial lives," the company writes on its promotional website. "They’ll be able to get personalized recommendations throughout the year, with actions they can take to maximize their tax refund and accurately file taxes in record time with TurboTax. And they’ll be given the tools to make smart money decisions throughout their financial journey with Credit Karma."

Intuit also sees Intuit Assist as a way to level the playing field for small and medium-sized businesses, which often lack the resources of larger companies. The AI assistant will reportedly help shorten the time it takes to file taxes and provide faster access to refunds, as well as offer personalized financial advice. Intuit Chief Data Officer Ashok Srivastava told Reuters that the company's AI models "competed favorably" against other AI systems in internal accuracy tests.

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    AI-generated child sex imagery has every US attorney general calling for action / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 21:48 · 1 minute

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On Wednesday, American attorneys general from all 50 states and four territories sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to establish an expert commission to study how generative AI can be used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM). They also call for expanding existing laws against CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated materials.

"As Attorneys General of our respective States and territories, we have a deep and grave concern for the safety of the children within our respective jurisdictions," the letter reads. "And while Internet crimes against children are already being actively prosecuted, we are concerned that AI is creating a new frontier for abuse that makes such prosecution more difficult."

In particular, open source image synthesis technologies such as Stable Diffusion allow the creation of AI-generated pornography with ease, and a large community has formed around tools and add-ons that enhance this ability. Since these AI models are openly available and often run locally, there are sometimes no guardrails preventing someone from creating sexualized images of children, and that has rung alarm bells among the nation's top prosecutors. (It's worth noting that Midjourney, DALL-E, and Adobe Firefly all have built-in filters that bar the creation of pornographic content.)

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    “AI took my job, literally”—Gizmodo fires Spanish staff amid switch to AI translator / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 September - 19:57

A robot hand turning a knob to translate language.

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Last week, Gizmodo parent company G/O Media fired the staff of its Spanish-language site Gizmodo en Español and began to replace their work with AI translations of English-language articles, reports The Verge.

Former Gizmodo writer Matías S. Zavia publicly mentioned the layoffs, which took place via video call on August 29, in a social media post. On August 31, Zavia wrote , "Hello friends. On Tuesday they shut down @GizmodoES to turn it into a translation self-publisher (an AI took my job, literally)."

Previously, Gizmodo en Español had a small but dedicated team who wrote original content tailored specifically for Spanish-speaking readers, as well as producing translations of Gizmodo's English articles. The site represented Gizmodo's first foray into international markets when it launched in 2012 after being acquired from Guanabee.

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    Even the Pope is worried about AI and its “disruptive possibilities” / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 8 August - 16:16 · 1 minute

Pope Francis attends the Mass for the 37th World Youth Day at Parque Tejo on August 06, 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. Pope Francis visits Portugal for World Youth Day (WYD) which takes place over the first week of August.

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Discussion about artificial intelligence is everywhere these days—even the Vatican. On Tuesday, Pope Francis issued a communiqué announcing the theme for World Day of Peace 2024 as “Artificial Intelligence and Peace,” emphasizing the potential impact of AI on human life and calling for responsible use, ethical reflection, and vigilance to prevent negative consequences.

It's been a wild year for AI in the public eye, with the rise of ChatGPT and Bing Chat spurring concerns over AI takeover , several prominent but controversial letters and statements warning that AI could potentially threaten human civilization, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman making a world tour with heads of state. Talk of AI regulation has been rampant. The concept of ethical dangers from AI has been high-profile enough that even the Pope feels the need to address it.

In the communiqué, Pope Francis' office called for "an open dialogue on the meaning of these new technologies, endowed with disruptive possibilities and ambivalent effects." Echoing common ethical sentiments related to AI, he said society needs to be vigilant about the technology so that "a logic of violence and discrimination does not take root in the production and use of such devices, at the expense of the most fragile and excluded."

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    Innocent pregnant woman jailed amid faulty facial recognition trend / ArsTechnica · Monday, 7 August - 18:39

Innocent pregnant woman jailed amid faulty facial recognition trend

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Use of facial recognition software led Detroit police to falsely arrest 32-year-old Porcha Woodruff for robbery and carjacking, reports The New York Times. Eight months pregnant, she was detained for 11 hours, questioned, and had her iPhone seized for evidence before being released. It's the latest in a string of false arrests due to use of facial-recognition technology, which many critics say is not reliable.

The mistake seems particularly notable because the surveillance footage used to falsely identify Woodruff did not show a pregnant woman, and Woodruff was very visibly pregnant at the time of her arrest.

The incident began with an automated facial recognition search by the Detroit Police Department. A man who was robbed reported the crime, and police used DataWorks Plus to run surveillance video footage against a database of criminal mug shots. Woodruff's 2015 mug shot from a previous unrelated arrest was identified as a match. After that, the victim wrongly confirmed her identification from a photo lineup, leading to her arrest.

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    OpenAI discontinues its AI writing detector due to “low rate of accuracy” / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 26 July - 19:51 · 1 minute

An AI-generated image of a slot machine in a desert.

Enlarge / An AI-generated image of a slot machine in a desert. (credit: Midjourney)

On Thursday, OpenAI quietly pulled its AI Classifier, an experimental tool designed to detect AI-written text. The decommissioning, first noticed by Decrypt, occurred with no major fanfare and was announced through a small note added to OpenAI's official AI Classifier webpage :

As of July 20, 2023, the AI classifier is no longer available due to its low rate of accuracy. We are working to incorporate feedback and are currently researching more effective provenance techniques for text, and have made a commitment to develop and deploy mechanisms that enable users to understand if audio or visual content is AI-generated.

Released on January 31 amid clamor from educators about students potentially using ChatGPT to write essays and schoolwork, OpenAI's AI Classifier always felt like a performative Band-Aid on a deep wound. From the beginning, OpenAI admitted that its AI Classifier was not "fully reliable," correctly identifying only 26 percent of AI-written text as "likely AI-written" and incorrectly labeling human-written works 9 percent of the time.

As we've pointed out on Ars, AI writing detectors such as OpenAI's AI Classifier, Turnitin, and GPTZero simply don't work with enough accuracy to rely on them for trustworthy results. The methodology behind how they work is speculative and unproven, and the tools are currently routinely used to falsely accuse students of cheating.

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    OpenAI execs warn of “risk of extinction” from artificial intelligence in new open letter / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 30 May - 17:12

An AI-generated image of

Enlarge / An AI-generated image of "AI taking over the world." (credit: Stable Diffusion)

On Tuesday, the Center for AI Safety (CAIS) released a single-sentence statement signed by executives from OpenAI and DeepMind, Turing Award winners, and other AI researchers warning that their life's work could potentially extinguish all of humanity.

The brief statement, which CAIS says is meant to open up discussion on the topic of "a broad spectrum of important and urgent risks from AI," reads as follows: "Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."

High-profile signatories of the statement include Turing Award winners Geoffery Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI CTO Mira Murati, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei, and professors from UC Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT.

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