AI may make scams and misinformation harder to spot, warns Apple co-founder

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, has called for content generated by artificial intelligence to be clearly labelled, warning that AI could make scams and misinformation harder for everyday users to spot.

Speaking to the BBC, the Silicon Valley pioneer said: ‘AI is so intelligent it’s open to the bad players, the ones that want to trick you about who they are.’

Earlier this year, Mr Wozniak joined a number of tech leaders in signing an open letter calling for a six-month pause in the development of the most powerful AI systems.

Across the globe, individuals and governments have been warning of the need for stricter, global regulation of the technology, although Mr Wozniak is not confident such guard rails would be sufficient.

‘I think the forces that drive for money usually win out, which is sort of sad,’ he said, adding that big tech firms ‘feel they can kind of get away with anything’.

On the potential for AI scams, Mr Wozniak said programmes like ChatGPT now create text that sounds so intelligent it will make bad actors even more convincing – although he doesn’t believe AI will replace people entirely due to a lack of emotion.

Mr Wozniak, commonly known as ‘Woz’ in the industry, has spent a lifetime working in tech, starting at small firms in San Francisco before graduating to Hewlett-Packard in 1975. While working for HP he developed his own microcomputer, but when his employer was not interested in developing the idea, Mr Wozniak teamed up with his high school friend Steve Jobs, and Apple was born – literally in Mr Jobs’ garage.

The company went public in 1980, exceeding $1billion in value.

Thirteen years later, the world wide web was released to the public. Mr Wozniak said in his interview that missed opportunities during the arrival of the internet serve lessons for the architects of AI today.

He said while ‘we can’t stop the technology’, people should be better prepared to spot fraud and malicious attacks on personal information – adding that anyone who published content created by AI should be responsible for it.

Mr Wozniak’s comments come a week after Dr Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as ‘the godfather of AI’, left his job at Google and warned of the dangers the new technology presented.

Last week the UK Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into AI in the marketplace, in part to protect consumers, while in the US, President Joe Biden called executives from leading tech companies including Microsoft and Google to the Whitehouse over safety fears.

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