Microsoft Engineer Calls for Regulation on AI Image Generator, Copilot Designer

JJohn March 7, 2024 7:01 AM

A principal engineer at Microsoft has voiced concerns over the company's AI image generator, Copilot Designer. The engineer has urged the US government to investigate due to the tool's potential for generating inappropriate images, despite his efforts to address the issue internally.

Engineer voices concern to top authorities

Shane Jones, a senior software engineering manager at Microsoft, has demonstrated significant concern over the company's generative AI tool, Copilot Designer. He has taken serious steps to voice these concerns, with his most recent action being a letter sent to both the US Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft's board of directors. His efforts underline the potential dangers of Copilot Designer, a text-to-image generator that was launched in March 2023.

Copilot Designer's potential for harmful content

In his letter, Jones identified a number of alarming possibilities surrounding the use of Copilot Designer. He fears that the tool could be manipulated to generate inappropriate images, including those depicting sex, violence, underage drinking, and drug use. Furthermore, Jones warns of the potential for the AI to produce politically biased material or to spread conspiracy theories. He asserts that it's essential to educate the public, especially parents and teachers, about the risks associated with such technology, particularly when used in educational settings.

Jones claimed that, despite his repeated attempts to address these issues internally at Microsoft over the past three months, the company has not taken action to remove Copilot Designer from public use or to implement the safeguards he proposed. Among his suggestions were adding disclosure notices to the product and adjusting its rating on the Android app store, but it seems these recommendations fell on deaf ears.

Jones's history of advocating for AI safety

This isn't the first time Jones has sounded the alarm about AI safety. Prior to writing his letter to the FTC, he had publicly urged OpenAI to remove DALL-E, the model that powers Copilot Designer, from public use. Even in the face of pressure from Microsoft's legal team to retract his statements, Jones persisted in his advocacy for AI safety, reaching out to US senators about the issue.

The concerns around Copilot Designer are not isolated incidents in the tech industry. Google has also faced scrutiny over its AI technologies, particularly Gemini, a competitor to OpenAI's ChatGPT. Google decided to pause access to Gemini's image generation feature after receiving complaints about historically inaccurate images involving race. DeepMind's CEO, Demis Hassabis, has promised that the feature will return once the concerns have been addressed.

More articles

Also read

Here are some interesting articles on other sites from our network.