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Scam innovation -- moving faster than the speed of regulation

What a week – chaos at OpenAI plus the rise of scam innovation. This weekend exposed a conflict at OpenAI, the November 22, 2022 bringer of ChatGPT, between the board that wants to develop AI for good and perhaps another view, AI for commercial profit.  Sam Altman the founder is fired, begs to come back and instead is offered a job and a team at Microsoft (the other big funder of OpenAI.) He agrees to go to Microsoft and 700 of OpenAI’s 750 employees threaten to quit.  Guess they weren’t big fans of AI for Good.  Microsoft, which committed as much as $10 billion over time for OpenAI, might think AI for Profit might be a better strategy.  Watch for the next installment of this very public soap opera.

AI for Good – not so good these days.  AI scammer innovation for profit is going very well. Your voice, all over the Internet, has been captured and is being used to scam your mother out of her savings by calling her begging for help with your voice, saying “Mom, Mom, Mom” in a convincing enough way for her to part with her cash. The Federal Trade Commission is so freaked out, they are offering a $25K prize, a “call-to-action to innovators to develop solutions that protect consumers from voice cloning harms.” Gee, how will reviewers authenticate that the submissions aren’t also from scammers themselves? By now scammers must have their own innovation incubators producing clever new AI-enabled tools. 

So far, companies that could help protect seniors don’t or won’t. For example, the Medicare scam, making thousands of calls seeking that one lonely soul who will be willing to give away personal information. Does your landline provider bother to help shut these down?  How about your cellphone carrier and spam calls?  Or is it that they really don’t see ANY way to stop them, so they partner with ‘Robocall’ killer software companies – helping to grow that category?

The so-called ‘regulation’ of AI is a dream. The White House and Congress want to regulate AI.  Thus a bill of rights is published, a kitchen sink type of statement about protecting privacy, preventing bias, improving collective bargaining to preserve jobs that AI could undermine, etc. Task forces will be set up, actions devised, and many reports will be published. For those who may have been waiting in vain for the regulation of social media companies, especially with so much published harm to young people, this initiative does not inspire confidence. As with scam calls, the scam innovators are way ahead of the FTC – and $25K to them looks like chump change. Meanwhile, who is the target audience for spam, scams and the next wave of innovation to prey on them? Older adults.


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