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Risks Digest 33.90

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Oct 19, 2023, 10:30:26 PM10/19/23
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RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest Thursday 19 October 2023 Volume 33 : Issue 90

ACM FORUM ON RISKS TO THE PUBLIC IN COMPUTERS AND RELATED SYSTEMS (comp.risks)
Peter G. Neumann, founder and still moderator

***** See last item for further information, disclaimers, caveats, etc. *****
This issue is archived at <http://www.risks.org> as
<http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/33.90>
The current issue can also be found at
<http://www.csl.sri.com/users/risko/risks.txt>

Contents:
How ChatGPT and other AI tools could disrupt scientific publishing
(Nature)
`Algorithmic destruction' and the deep algorithmic problems of AI
and copyright (San Francisco Chronicle)
A Chatbot Encouraged Him to Kill the Queen. It's Just the Beginning (WiReD)
Dilemma of the Artificial Intelligence Regulatory Landscape
(CACM Vol 66 No 9)
Experts Worry as Facial Recognition Comes to Airports and
Deepfake Election Interference in Slovakia (Bruce Schneier)
A big win in our fight to reclaim the Internet! (Mozilla)
Win $12k by rediscovering the secret phrases that secure the Internet
(New Scientist)
Your old phone is safe for longer than you think (WashPost)
How do you get out of a $28,000 timeshare mistake? (Eliott)
The TSA wants to put a government tracking app on your smartphone
(PapersPlease)
New York Bill Would Require a Criminal Background Check to Buy a 3D Printer
(Gizmodo)
Burned-out parents seek help from a new ally: ChatGPT (geoff goodfellow)
Allied Spy Chiefs Warn of Chinese Espionage Targeting Tech Firms (NYTimes)
Top crypto firms named in $1bn fraud lawsuit (BBC)
The secret life of Jimmy Zhong, who stole and lost more than $3B (CNBC)
Why do people fall for grief scams? (Rob Slade)
Remote Driving Is a Sneaky Shortcut to the Robotaxi (WiReD)
Re: Autonomous Vehicles Are Driving Blind (Chris Volpe)
Re: False news spreads faster than the truth (Amos Shapir)
Re: Vermont Utility Plans to End Outages by Giving Customers
Batteries (John Levine)
Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2023 09:52:05 -0700
From: Steve Bacher <seb...@verizon.net>
Subject: How ChatGPT and other AI tools could disrupt scientific publishing
(Nature)

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-03144-w

When radiologist Domenico Mastrodicasa finds himself stuck while writing a
research paper, he turns to ChatGPT, the chatbot that produces fluent
responses to almost any query in seconds. “I use it as a sounding board,”
says Mastrodicasa, who is based at the University of Washington School of
Medicine in Seattle. “I can produce a publication-ready manuscript much
faster.”

[I am reminded of Fred Brooks and Bill Wright doing a Markov chain
analysis of 37 common-meter hymn tunes, and Al Hopkins and I a year later
in Tony Oettinger's statistical linguistics seminar (1954-1955) randomly
generating more than 600 hymn tunes consistent with various chain lengths
in weekend runs on the Harvard Mark IV. This is documented in our paper,
An Experiment in Musical Composition, IRE Transactions on Electronic
Computers EC-6, 175-182, September 1957. You can find it on the Web.

Harvard Poet David McCord wrote these common-meter lyrics, which he read
at the introduction of a Univac 1 (taking literary liberty with the
identity of the computer):

O God, our help in ages past,
Thy help we now eschew.
Hymn tunes on Univac at last,
Dear God, for Thee, for You.
We turn them out almighty fast,

Ten books to every pew.

Our HymnBot almost 70 years ago was obviously a very primitive
small-language precursor of the current ChatBot rage. PGN]

------------------------------

Date: September 24, 2023 10:06:15 JST
From: Ellen Ullman <ull...@well.com>
Subject: `Algorithmic destruction' and the deep algorithmic problems of AI
and copyright (San Francisco Chronicle)

[From Dave Farber's IP distribution)

Could ‘algorithmic destruction’ solve AI’s copyright issues?
https://www.sfchronicle.com/tech/article/ai-artificial-intelligence-copyright-18374295.php

By Chase DiFeliciantonio, 23 Sep 2023

Comments

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is trained by “consuming” vast amounts of information
online. Some authors have sued OpenAI alleging the company unfairly used
their copyrighted works to teach its chatbots how to respond to written
prompts. One way to fix that could be to employ “algorithmic destruction.”

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is trained by “consuming” vast amounts of information
online. Some authors have sued OpenAI alleging the company unfairly used
their copyrighted works to teach its chatbots how to respond to written
prompts. One way to fix that could be to employ “algorithmic destruction.”
Richard Drew/Associated Press

If artificial intelligence mimics our brains, does that mean it too can
unlearn something it knows?

That question is central to lawsuits filed by a range of creatives who say
their copyrighted work was infringed by OpenAI and Meta. But making an AI
“forget” isn’t the same as removing the blocky chips from HAL 9000’s digital
brain in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In fact, the lawsuits raise the question:
is “unlearning” even possible for an AI? And, if not, are there other ways
to ensure generative AI programs don’t draw from copyrighted material, short
of tearing them down?

Enter “algorithmic destruction,” a term that entails trashing an AI model
that may have taken years and millions of dollars to train, then rebuilding
it from scratch by inputting only fair-use text, images and data.

That would be “the most extreme remedy” to issues highlighted in lawsuits
like those filed against OpenAI and Meta, said Pamela Samuelson, a UC
Berkeley professor and expert in generative AI and copyright law.

But, she said, it’s not unthinkable.

Here’s how it might work:

Since AI models aren't some baby powder that can be easily recalled and
remade after slapping a company with a fine, there are basically three
approaches given the current way the technology works, plus one more path
that would change how it “thinks,” said UC Berkeley professor and computer
scientist Matei Zaharia:

Destroy the model.
“Screen” results that include copyrighted material.
Retrain the model.

A fourth route would be to invent models that work more like a super-smart
web search, and which can cite sources unlike chatbots such as GPT-3 which,
similar to a human brain, doesn't always know where it learned something, or
whether it’s totally accurate.

That way programmers could, in theory, pull documents from a model’s
training set — like nodes of the HAL 9000’s processor — so the program could
no longer reference them when asked a question, said Zaharia, who is working
on that kind of approach.

With the way the dominant generative AI technology works for now, though,
“it’s hard to make models forget specific content,” said Zaharia, who is
also the co-founder and CTO of San Francisco’s Databricks.

The easiest way to keep a program from spitting out information it shouldn’t
“would probably be after your model generates something, but before you send
it back to the user, you check, ‘Is this really close to something’ ” like a
copyrighted work, Zaharia said.

Telling the program to skate around copyrighted material, specifically,
would probably not work since, like a toddler with superpowers, “it doesn't
really know” what is copyrighted and what isn’t, Zaharia said.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 01:04:01 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: A Chatbot Encouraged Him to Kill the Queen. It's Just the
Beginning (WiReD)

Companies are designing AI to appear increasingly human. That can mislead
users—or worse.

Humans are prone to see two dots and a line and think they’re a face. When
they do it to chatbots, it’s known as the Eliza effect. The name comes from
the first chatbot, Eliza, developed by MIT scientist Joseph Weizenbaum in
1966. Weizenbaum noticed users were ascribing erroneous insights to a text
generator simulating a therapist. [...]

Mental health chatbots may carry similar risks. Jodi Halpern, a professor of
bioethics at UC Berkeley, whose work has challenged the idea of using AI
chatbots to help meet the rising demand for mental health care, has become
increasingly concerned by a marketing push to sell these apps as caring
companions. She's worried that patients are being encouraged to develop
dependent relationships—of “trust, intimacy, and vulnerability”—with an
app. This is a form of manipulation, Halpern says. And should the app fail
the user, there is often no mental health professional ready to come to
their aid. Artificial intelligence cannot stand in for human empathy, she
says.

https://www.wired.com/story/chatbot-kill-the-queen-eliza-effect

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 16:49:04 -0400
From: Cliff Kilby <cliff...@gmail.com>
Subject: Dilemma of the Artificial Intelligence Regulatory Landscape
(CACM Vol 66 No 9)

In the opinion piece "Dilemma of the Artificial Intelligence Regulatory
Landscape": Wu and Liu note that with rapid expansion of LLMs and progress
towards true AI regulatory frameworks are woefully unprepared. The authors
are of the opinion that implementation of new features should be accelerated
regardless of the regulatory gaps stating ``We have found the key to
settling concerns is to clearly convey the message that potential benefits
outweigh relevant risks.'' This is an extremely troubling approach that led
to terrible things like the ozone hole over Antarctica, and one that I would
caution strongly against. Doubly so, considering that LLMs are regularly
demonstrating they provide at least as many risks as benefits, if not more
so. Copyright lawsuits, Intellectual Property disputes and even a case of
Libel have all appeared in relation to LLMs. In summation, I disagree.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 18:13:54 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: Experts Worry as Facial Recognition Comes to Airports and
Cruises (The New York Times)

Facial recognition software is speeding up check-in at airports, cruise
ships and theme parks, but experts worry about risks to security and
privacy.

Facial recognition technology will increasingly offer travelers shorter
lines and fewer documents to juggle, but all that convenience may have a
cost, warned Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil
Liberties Union. By accepting more surveillance technology, he said, “we
open ourselves to tracking where we are and who we are with all the time.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/13/travel/facial-recognition-airports-cruises.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 09:17:04 +0000
From: Bruce Schneier <schn...@schneier.com>
Subject: Deepfake Election Interference in Slovakia
e
[PGN-excerpted From CRYPTO-GRAM, 15 Oct 2023, among other superb analyses]

[2023.10.06]
[https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/10/deepfake-election-interfer
ence-in-slovakia.html]
Well designed and well timed deepfake
[https://www.wired.co.uk/article/slovakia-election-deepfakes] or two
Slovakian politicians discussing how to rig the election:

> =C5=A0ime=C4=8Dka and _Denn=C3=ADk N_ immediately denounced the audio as
fake. The fact-checking department of news agency AFP said
[https://fakty.afp.com/doc.afp.com.33WY9LF] the audio showed signs of
being manipulated using AI. But the recording was posted during a 48-hour
moratorium ahead of the polls opening, during which media outlets and
politicians are supposed to stay silent. That meant, under Slovakia's
election rules, the post was difficult to widely debunk. And, because the
post was audio, it exploited a loophole in Meta's manipulated-media
policy, which dictates
[https://transparency.fb.com/en-gb/policies/community-standards/manipulated-media/] only faked videos -- where a person has been edited to say
words they never said -- go against its rules.

I just wrote about this
[https://theconversation.com/ai-disinformation-is-a-threat-to-elections-learning-to-spot-russian-chinese-and-iranian-meddling-in-other-countries-can-help-the-us-prepare-for-2024-214358]. Countries like Russia and China tend
to test their attacks out on smaller countries before unleashing them on
larger ones. Consider this a preview to their actions in the US next year.


[See also an excellent long item that precedes this one:

Political Disinformation and AI
[2023.10.05]
[https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/10/political-disinformation-and-ai.html] Elections around the world are facing an evolving threat from
foreign actors, one that involves artificial intelligence

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2023 13:50:55 +0000 (UTC)
From: Mozilla <moz...@email.mozilla.org>
Subject: A big win in our fight to reclaim the Internet!

The so-called *impossible* has happened! It was widely believed that
YouTube was too big and too powerful to change its behaviour in
response to public pressure. But we didn't accept that.

Following years of campaigning, research, and policy advocacy by
Mozilla, YouTube has announced it will share data with
researchers. This change, as pd art of the platform's required
compliance of the European Union's Digital Services Act, will provide
independent researchers with critical public data -- data that will
allow the outside world to better understand how to stop YouTube from
recommending dangerous and harmful content.

This victory belongs to hundreds of thousands of Mozilla supporters --
to the people who: Donated their data to RegretsReporter, our browser
extension that helped aggregate YouTube recommendations for
researchers and that has been influential in shaping the EU's Digital
Services Act (DSA) regulation; Shared their stories of how their lives
and well-being had been impacted by YouTube's recommendations; and
Signed petitions and chipped in to support multiple fronts of our
campaigning work that made this victory possible.

It's a result of long-term movement building work -- the exact type of
work that is made possible by the continued support of Mozilla
supporters. And it's a result of our work with dozens of
organisations that supported our recommendations for public data
sharing under the DSA. And wins like these prove that together, the
Mozilla community is capable of taking on globally dominant platforms
like YouTube -- and winning. [...]

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 18:34:39 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <mo...@roscom.com>
Subject: Win $12k by rediscovering the secret phrases that secure the
Internet (New Scientist)

Win $12k by rediscovering the secret phrases that secure the Internet

Five secret phrases used to create the encryption algorithms that secure
everything from online banking to email have been lost to history -- but now
cryptographers are offering a bounty to rediscover them

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2396724-win-12k-by-rediscovering-the-secret-phrases-that-secure-the-internet/

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2023 22:28:09 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <mo...@roscom.com>
Subject: Your old phone is safe for longer than you think (WashPost)

Smartphone makers fix security flaws on your device for four to eight years
or more, giving you comfort that you can hold onto your phone if you wish.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/10/13/security-updates-ios-an

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 18:19:01 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: How do you get out of a $28,000 timeshare mistake? (Eliott)

Ling Lu Yamaki wanted to get out of her timeshare with Hilton Grand
Vacations after she discovered a serious problem with it.

Yamaki asked the company to cancel the $28,000 contract she and her husband
had agreed to pay for their timeshare after attending a presentation in Las
Vegas, but it said no.

https://www.elliott.org/advocacy/how-do-you-get-out-of-a-28000-timeshare-mistake-definitely-not-like-this/

The risk? Lying companies and agreements nobody reads.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2023 09:24:36 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <mo...@roscom.com>
Subject: The TSA wants to put a government tracking app on your
smartphone (PapersPlease)

https://papersplease.org/wp/2023/10/16/the-tsa-wants-to-put-a-government-tracking-app-on-your-smartphone/

[Technological solutions of this kind won't,
especially by themselves. PGN]

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2023 17:38:16 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: New York Bill Would Require a Criminal Background Check to Buy a 3D
Printer (Gizmodo)

[Ridiculous]

https://gizmodo.com/new-york-bill-criminal-background-check-buy-3d-print
er-1850930407

[Legal solutions of this kind won't work, especially by themselves. PGN]

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2023 07:49:04 -0700
From: geoff goodfellow <ge...@iconia.com>
Subject: Burned-out parents seek help from a new ally: ChatGPT

ChatGPT's latest job is to be mom and dad's brilliant sidekick. Parents of
kids of all ages are using the chatbot to help raise their children.

Why it matters: The tool has the potential to ease the burden on burned-out,
over-scheduled parents.
<https://www.axios.com/2022/05/31/parents-schools-uvalde-baby-formula-race>=
But it's no replacement for a human's judgment -- especially regarding
what's best for their kids.

What's happening: ChatGPT excels at brainstorming and researching -- both
functions that can be uniquely useful to parents, says Celia Quillian, a
product marketer in Atlanta who runs a TikTok account advising followers on
creative ways to use the robot.

- The chatbot could plan an 8-year-old's mermaid-themed birthday party in
seconds, offering drink ideas like mermaid fruit punch -- blue= Gatorade
with floating gummy fish -- and snack ideas like seashell cookies.

- It can conjure up a chore chart for a group of young siblings, tailoring
the tasks so they're appropriate for each age. For example, a 7-year-old
might start with picking up toys, while their 13-year-old sibling vacuums
the living room.

- It can even answer age-old questions that kids ask exasperated
parents. Think, "Why is the sky blue?" The chatbot will feed you an
answer fit for a 4-year-old.

Zoom in: Some parents are using the chatbot to navigate even bigger
milestones in their children's lives. [...]

https://www.axios.com/2023/10/14/chatgpt-parents-ai-chatbot

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2023 06:25:21 -0400
From: "Jan Wolitzky" <jan.wo...@gmail.com>
Subject: Allied Spy Chiefs Warn of Chinese Espionage Targeting Tech Firms
(NYTimes)

The United States and its allies vowed this week to do more to counter
Chinese theft of technology, warning at an unusual gathering of
intelligence leaders that Beijing’s espionage is increasingly trained not
on the hulking federal buildings of Washington but the shiny office
complexes of Silicon Valley.

The intelligence chiefs sought to engage private industry in combating what
one official called an *unprecedented threat* on Tuesday as they discussed
how to better protect new technologies and help Western countries keep
their edge over China.

The choice of meeting venue -— Stanford University, in Silicon Valley —- was
strategic. While Washington is often considered the key espionage
battleground in the United States, FBI officials estimate that more than
half of Chinese espionage focused on stealing American technology takes
place in the Bay Area.

It was the first time the heads of the FBI and Britain's MI5 and their
counterparts from Australia, Canada and New Zealand had gathered for a
public discussion of intelligence threats. It was, in effect, a summit of
the spy hunters, the counterintelligence agencies whose job it is to detect
and stop efforts by China to steal allied secrets.

“That unprecedented meeting is because we are dealing with another
unprecedented threat,” said Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director. “There
is no greater threat to innovation than the Chinese government.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/18/us/politics/china-spying-technology.html

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 13:00:40 -0600
From: Matthew Kruk <mkr...@gmail.com>
Subject: Top crypto firms named in $1bn fraud lawsuit (BBC)

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67161638

U.S. prosecutors have accused three high-profile cryptocurrency firms of
defrauding investors of more than $1bn.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Gemini, a crypto exchange, had
lied to customers about the risks of an investment account it offered,
which paid high interest rates on crypto.

Genesis, a crypto lender, and its parent company Digital Currency Group
were also involved in the programme.

It was halted last November, cutting off customer access to funds.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2023 12:17:05 +0800
From: Li Gong <ligo...@gmail.com>
Subject: The secret life of Jimmy Zhong, who stole and lost more than $3B

<https://www.cnbc.com/2023/10/17/crypto911.html>

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 12:41:04 -0700:
From: Rob Slade <rsl...@gmail.com>
Subject: Why do people fall for grief scams?

[Long and personal item, a bit off topic, but could be worth reading,
especially if you have a grief problem. PGN]

https://fibrecookery.blogspot.com/2023/10/why-do-people-fall-for-grief-scams.html

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 01:26:05 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: Remote Driving Is a Sneaky Shortcut to the Robotaxi
(WiReD)

German startup Vay is pushing teledriving -- in which cars are remotely
operated by humans -- as easier to achieve than fully autonomous driving.

On the busy streets of suburban Berlin, just south of Tempelhofer Feld, a
white Kia is skillfully navigating double-parked cars, roadworks, cyclists,
and pedestrians. Dan, the driver, strikes up a conversation with his
passengers, remarking on the changing traffic lights and the sound of an
ambulance screaming past in the other direction. But Dan isn’t in the car.

Instead, he’s half a mile away at the offices of German startup Vay. The
company kits its cars out with radar, GPS, ultrasound, and an array of other
sensors to allow drivers like Dan to control the vehicles remotely from a
purpose-built station equipped with a driver’s seat, steering wheel, pedals,
and three monitors providing visibility in front of the car and to its side.

https://www.wired.com/story/a-sneaky-shortcut-to-driverless-cars

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2023 13:41:31 +0000
From: Chris Volpe <cvo...@ara.com>
Subject: Re: Autonomous Vehicles Are Driving Blind (NYTimes)

For all the ballyhoo over the possibility of artificial intelligence
threatening humanity someday, there's remarkably little discussion of the
ways it is threatening humanity right now. When it comes to self-driving
cars, we are driving blind.

That's because with self-driving cars, as the technology improves, the
threat is mitigated, whereas with other forms of AI (deep fakes, large
language models, etc.), as the technology improves, the threat is
exacerbated.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2023 17:35:26 +0300
From: Amos Shapir <amo...@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: False news spreads faster than the truth (RISKS-33.88)

Martin Ward writes (quoting Alvin Plantinga's "evolutionary argument
against naturalism"):

"Therefore, to assert that naturalistic evolution is true also asserts
that one has a low or unknown probability of being right. Therefore,
naturalism is self-defeating."

The main flaw of Patinga's argument is of course that naturalistic evolution
is not an idea or an opinion, but a scientific theory. Therefore, its
veracity does not depend on a theoretical "probability of being right", but
on hard evidence, attained through observation and experimentation.

------------------------------

Date: 12 Oct 2023 16:57:20 -0400
From: "John Levine" <jo...@iecc.com>
Subject: Re: Vermont Utility Plans to End Outages by Giving Customers
Batteries (Baker, RISKS-33.89)

> Terrific idea! How come it's taken this long for a utility to utilize
> the advantages of a *distributed* power system to reduce the need for
> long-distance power transmission?

Financial incentives, perverse state regulators, and the lack of
cost-effective batteries until recently.

> I'm still waiting for one of the cellphone companies to start paying
> homeowners to put nano cellsites on their roofs in order to avoid having
> to build stand-alone cellsites/towers.

Using what for backhaul? Every cableco I know forbids reselling your
connection.

Also, femtocells have very limited power and are only supposed to be used
indoors because they can interfere with real cell towers. The real towers
are designed by engineers and have licenses so they provide useful coverage
and manage interference between cells.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2023 11:11:11 -0800
From: RISKS-...@csl.sri.com
Subject: Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)

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End of RISKS-FORUM Digest 33.90
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