Artificial intelligence startup OpenAI has banned the developer behind Dean. Bot, a ChatGPT-powered bot designed to impersonate Democratic Presidential hopeful Congressman Dean Philips.
Dean. The bot was developed by Silicon Valley AI startup Delphi for the super political action committee (PAC) We Deserve Better, which supports Phillips’ presidential campaign. According to the Washington Post, the bot was designed to help bolster the Minnesota representative’s run for the White House.
OpenAI Suspends Developer Account Behind Dean.Bot For Violating Election Policy
Although the bot does not pretend to be Phillips himself, and its website displays a disclaimer describing the nature of the chatbot before engaging with it, OpenAI said such actions go directly against its AI policies.
In a statement to the Post and Reuters, a spokesperson for OpenAI said that the company removed the developer’s account because it was “knowingly” violating its API usage policies that “disallow political campaigning, or impersonating an individual without consent.”
The move came just weeks after OpenAI published a blog post about the measures it will be taking to prevent the misuse of its technology ahead of the 2024 elections. The firm specifically mentioned that chatbots impersonating presidential candidates would not be allowed.
In the blog post, OpenAI noted that it does not allow people to build applications for political campaigning and lobbying.
The super PAC We Deserve Better, created by entrepreneurs Matt Krisiloff and Jed Somers, assigned Delphi to build the bot and support Phillips’ campaign ahead of the New Hampshire primary on January 23.
The PAC has received notable donations, with $1 million coming from billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who called it the largest investment he had ever made “in someone running for office”.
DeanBot Developers Delphi Takes The Chatbot Offline After OpenAI’s Ban
DeanBot intended to engage with voters and spread Dean Phillip’s campaign message as well as his proposed plans for the country if elected President.
After the issue was brought to the media’s attention, Delphi initially removed ChatGPT support from the bot and continued running it using other open-source programs. However, DeanBot was ultimately taken offline on Friday after OpenAI suspended its developer’s account.
Those who visit the website now will be greeted by the disclaimer but the chatbot itself won’t be available due to apparent “technical difficulties”. Visitors will be presented with another message that reads, “Apologies, DeanBot is away campaigning right now!”
DeanBot, which could have real-time conversations with voters through its website, was the early use of an emerging technology that researchers have said could cause significant harm to elections.
Proponents of AI technology, including the We Deserve Better PAC, argue that the bots when used appropriately can educate voters about the candidate by leveraging entertaining tactics.
The PAC’s co-founder Matt Krisiloff is a former chief of staff to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Even though Altman has met with Democrat Presidential candidate and one of Joe Biden’s chief rivals Dean Phillips several times during his campaign, the OpenAI founder has no involvement with the PAC, said Krisiloff.