OpenAI, DeepMind insiders demand AI whistleblower protections OpenAI, DeepMind insiders demand AI whistleblower protections

OpenAI, DeepMind insiders demand AI whistleblower protections

Former and current employees of top AI firms say existing protections are insufficient.

OpenAI, DeepMind insiders demand AI whistleblower protections

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

Individuals with past and present roles at OpenAI and Google DeepMind called for the protection of critics and whistleblowers on June 4.

Authors of an open letter urged AI companies not to enter agreements that block criticism or retaliate against criticism by hindering economic benefits.

Furthermore, they stated that companies should create a culture of “open criticism” while protecting trade secrets and intellectual property.

The authors asked companies to create protections for current and former employees where existing risk reporting processes have failed. They wrote:

“Ordinary whistleblower protections are insufficient because they focus on illegal activity, whereas many of the risks we are concerned about are not yet regulated.”

Finally, the authors said that AI firms should create procedures for employees to raise risk-related concerns anonymously. Such procedures should allow individuals to raise their concerns to company boards and external regulators and organizations alike.

Personal concerns

The letter’s thirteen authors described themselves as current and former employees at “frontier AI companies.” The group includes 11 past and present members of OpenAI, plus one past Google DeepMind member and one present DeepMind member, formerly at Anthropic.

They described personal concerns, stating:

“Some of us reasonably fear various forms of retaliation, given the history of such cases across the industry.”

The authors highlighted various AI risks, such as inequality, manipulation, misinformation, loss of control of autonomous AI, and potential human extinction.

They said that AI companies, along with governments and experts, have acknowledged risks. Unfortunately, companies have “strong financial incentives” to avoid oversight and little obligation to share private information about their systems’ capabilities voluntarily.

The authors otherwise asserted their belief in the benefits of AI.

Earlier 2023 letter

The request follows an April 2023 open letter titled “Pause Giant AI Experiments,” which similarly highlighted risks around AI. The earlier letter gained signatures from industry leaders such as Tesla CEO and X chairman Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The 2023 letter urged companies to pause AI experiments for six months so that policymakers could create legal, safety, and other frameworks.

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