Sunday, June 23, 2024

Microsoft Engineer Raises Alarm Over AI Image Generator’s Potential Harmful Content

A senior Microsoft executive has raised serious concerns about the security of one of the company’s AI tools, prompting calls for a government investigation Microsoft’s chief software engineer Shane Jones in the US. The Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft’s board of directors, issued a memorandum on CoPilot Designer, a text-to-image generator launched in March 2023 by the tech giant.

In his letter, Jones expressed shock at the copilot designer’s ability to produce potentially inappropriate images depicting sex, violence, underage drinking and drug use, political bias and refreshing examples of conspiracy theories.

Despite repeated attempts by Jones to address the problem within Microsoft over the last three months, the company has refused to remove Copilot Designer from public use or implement appropriate security suggestions for feedback features displayed along with the device and changing its rating in the Android App Store has not worked.

This is not the first time Jones has spoken out about AI security concerns. Months before writing the letter to the FTC, he publicly urged OpenAI to remove the DALL-E model that powers Copilot Designer from public use. Despite facing pressure from Microsoft’s legal team to withdraw his case, Jones has continued to voice his concerns and has traveled to the US. even to a congressional committee on AI and security risks.

The news comes at a time when AI technology is being explored in a growing industrial landscape. Google recently suspended access to its image generation feature on OpenAI’s ChatGPT competitor Gemini after complaints of historically inaccurate racial images. Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google’s AI division DeepMind, addressed concerns and assured the return of the piece.

In response to Jones’ letter, Microsoft said the company is committed to addressing any employee concerns with its policies and appreciates efforts to enhance the security of its technology. But it remains to be seen how Microsoft will address the specific issues raised by Jones regarding Copilot Designer and its potential for harmful effects.


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