AI whistleblowers warn of dangers and call for transparency

A group that describes itself as “current and former employees at frontier AI [artificial intelligence] companies” called for greater transparency and protection for whistleblowers in the sector letter Tuesday.

“Until there is effective government oversight of these companies, current and former employees will be among the few people who can hold them accountable to the public,” the letter said. “Yet, broad confidentiality agreements prevent us from raising our concerns except to those companies that may fail to address these issues.”

The letter is signed by those who identify themselves as current and former employees of companies including OpenAI, Google's DeepMind and Anthropic, with six of them choosing to remain anonymous.

“Ordinary protections for whistleblowers are insufficient because they focus on illegal activities, while many of the risks we are concerned about are not yet regulated,” the letter continues. “Some of us reasonably fear various forms of retaliation given the history of such cases in the industry. We are not the first to encounter or speak about these issues.”

The letter specifically asks that “advanced AI companies” agree to “principles,” including not entering into “any agreement that prohibits 'disparagement' or criticism of the company over risk-related concerns” and advocating “a culture of openness”. criticism.”

“We are hopeful that these risks can be adequately mitigated with sufficient guidance from the scientific community, policymakers, and the public,” the letter continues. “However, AI companies have strong financial incentives to avoid effective oversight, and we do not believe that tailor-made corporate governance structures are sufficient to change this.”

OpenAI announced last week that it was creating a security panel to make recommendations to its board on “critical safety and security decisions,” led by CEO Sam Altman, along with directors Adam D'Angelo, Nicole Seligman and Bret Taylor.

OpenAI is “proud of our track record of delivering the most capable and secure AI systems and believes in our scientific approach to addressing risk,” a company spokesperson told The Hill in a statement per e-mail.

“We agree that rigorous debate is crucial given the importance of this technology and we will continue to engage with governments, civil society and other communities around the world,” the spokesperson continued.

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