Microsoft Engineer Exposes Risks in AI Image Generator Copilot Designer

Microsoft AI Engineer Raises Concerns Over AI Image Generator

Shane Jones, a Microsoft AI engineer, has raised the issue about the safety of one of the company’s generative AI tools. Jones, a principal software engineering manager at Microsoft, has mailed a letter to the US government and Microsoft’s board of directors about “Copilot Designer,” a powerful text-to-image generator launched by Microsoft in March 2023.

The Microsoft AI engineer expressed and warned about the ability of Copilot Designer to produce images depicting sensitive content such as sex, violence, underage drinking, drug use, political bias, and conspiracy theories. Jones highlighted the critical need for public awareness, particularly among parents and educators, regarding the risks associated with such technology, especially in educational settings.

Microsoft AI Engineer Urges Safety Measures

Despite his repeated attempts to address these concerns internally within Microsoft over the past three months, the Microsoft AI engineer revealed that the company has not taken sufficient action to remove Copilot Designer from public use or implement adequate safety measures. He proposed adding disclosures to the product and adjusting its rating on the Android app store, but these suggestions were not acted upon.

“Over the last three months, I have repeatedly urged Microsoft to remove Copilot Designer from public use until better safeguards could be put in place,” Jones wrote in the letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Microsoft responded, stating it is committed to addressing employee concerns through company policies and appreciating efforts to enhance the safety of its technology.

“We are committed to addressing any and all concerns employees have in accordance with our company policies, and appreciate employee efforts in studying and testing our latest technology to further enhance its safety,” a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC.

This is not the first time Jones has spoken out about AI safety. Before his letter to the FTC, he publicly urged OpenAI to remove DALL-E, the model powering Copilot Designer, from public use. Despite facing pressure from Microsoft’s legal team, Jones persisted in voicing his concerns, even reaching out to US senators about AI safety risks.

Jones’s actions come amidst a broader examination of AI technologies within the tech industry. Google recently halted access to its image generation feature on Gemini, its competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, following complaints about historically inaccurate images related to race. Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, Google’s AI division, assured that the feature would be reinstated after addressing the concerns.


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