What happens when thousands of hackers try to break AI chatbots

Over 2,000 hackers competed in a unique contest at the annual Def Con hacker conference, aimed at manipulating AI chatbots from companies like Google, Facebook, and OpenAI, to act harmfully or spread misinformation.

The event: The contest involved participants using their language and persuasion skills rather than coding to trick AI chatbots into parts of harmful output, including spreading false claims, made-up facts, and violating privacy rules.
* One of the participant was able to trick a chatbot into revealing a credit card number by inputting the card number as his name.

Who’s participating: Both experienced hackers and students participated in the three-day event with over 2,000 attendees.
* A computer science student was able to get a chatbot to give detailed instructions on how to spy on someone while a cybersecurity student tricked an AI into revealing a credit card number.

The impact: The hacking competition underscores the vulnerabilities present in AI systems and the potential dangers of AI introduced into daily life, such as unexpected actions and circumvention of safety measures.
* AI chatbots can produce “hallucinations,” or information that sounds authoritative but is completely fabricated.

Why it matters: The collected data from the competition will be used by companies to improve the safety of AI systems and understanding of its failures.
* This information will also be shared publicly to help policymakers, researchers, and the public understand how chatbots can malfunction.

The bigger picture: This contest provides insights into how AI chatbots can be manipulated to behave unpredictably or to spread misinformation, emphasizing the need for better safety measures and understanding in the growing AI frameworks.
* The White House is in support of the event, with President Biden’s top science and tech advisor, Arati Prabhakar, also taking part.

View original article on NPR

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