The new York Times lawsuit against OpenAI turns generative AI upside down

The recent lawsuit by The New York Times (NYT) against OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT, has raised questions about the use of copyrighted content in AI training. This case brings into play not only questions of legality, but also the future of AI and its relationship with content creators.

Context and scope of the claim

The NYT accuses OpenAI of using its articles to train its language models without authorization, claiming this could be worth "billions of dollars" in damages. The request may have unpredictable consequences because it challenges the mainstream method of training AI models, which often involves the use of vast amounts of data available on the Internet, including copyrighted articles, such as those from NYT.

Economic and logistical implications

If a legal precedent is set forcing AI companies to pay for the content they use, we could see a transformation in the AI economic model. This change would imply the need for licensing agreements or compensation schemes, which would increase operational costs for AI companies and could limit the scope for innovation.

How to identify and compensate for content used in AI training?

A critical aspect is how to identify what content has been used to train an AI and how to properly compensate the creators. Tracking and auditing technology can play a vital role here, although implementing such a system presents technical and privacy challenges. The New York Times has not specifically proposed a method for content identification and compensation; this lawsuit appears to be more aimed at setting a precedent on copyright in the age of AI, rather than outlining a concrete mechanism for identification and compensation.

Future of AI and copyright

If the NYT wins the lawsuit, it could set a legal precedent that forces AI companies to be more cautious about using protected content. This could slow down the AI advancementThe experts suggest several methods for identifying and compensating content used in AI. Experts suggest several methods for identifying and compensating content used in AI. One possibility is the development of advanced tracking and auditing technologies that allow content creators to track the use of their works. In terms of compensation, a model of micro-payments or usage-based licensing fees could be considered. This approach would require close collaboration between technology companies, content creators and possibly regulatory bodies to establish a fair and workable system. However, implementing such a system would be technically complex and would require extensive regulation and oversight.

A robot delivering coins to its human trainer in a Renaissance workshop, evoking the NYT lawsuit to OpenAI. Created with Midjourney.

Possible Scenarios and Adaptation Strategies

AI companies may need to adapt to a new legal and economic environment. This could include forming partnerships with content creators, developing AI technologies that minimize the use of copyrighted data, or finding new ways to generate data for training.

What about companies using generative AI?

The New York Times' lawsuit against OpenAI has significant implications for companies that use generative artificial intelligence (AI) in their daily operations. This case raises an important precedent in the legal and ethical realm of AI, which could redefine business practices and strategies around AI technology.

1. Reassessment of legal risk and compliance: Companies should pay more attention to the legal aspects related to the copyrights and the use of data. This implies a reassessment of the risks associated with the use of generative AI, especially regarding the provenance and licensing of data used to train AI models. Legal compliance becomes a crucial element, forcing companies to be more rigorous in verifying and documenting data sources.

2. Impact on product innovation and development: There could be a slowdown in the pace of AI innovation, as companies may become more fearful in developing products based on generative AI. Fear of litigation and the need to navigate a more complex legal landscape may limit experimentation and use of new AI techniques, potentially slowing the development of innovative products.

3. Need for new partnerships and business models: Companies may be forced to seek new forms of collaboration with content creators and copyright holders. This could include licensing negotiations or collaboration agreements that ensure ethical and legal use of content. In addition, business models could emerge that offer solutions for compensation and fair use of data.

4. Increased transparency and accountability: This case highlights the need for greater transparency in data use by AI companies. Companies may need to implement more robust systems to track and report data use, thereby increasing accountability and trust in their AI practices.

Is it possible to prove that a content is made with AI?

Experts point out that advanced AI models, especially in the field of natural language processing, have reached levels of sophistication that can make their creations indistinguishable from human-created content at a glance. However, there are tools and techniques under development that seek to identify unique fingerprints left by specific AI models. These tools analyze language patterns, stylistic consistency, and other textual characteristics that may not be apparent to human readers. For example, specific algorithms are being developed to detect the "voice" of certain AI models, such as OpenAI's GPT.

Is it possible to prove that an AI has used some content to train itself?

The question of whether an AI has used specific content for its training is more complex. AI models such as OpenAI's GPT are trained on huge datasets taken from the Internet, including books, websites, articles, and other publicly available materials. Proving that an AI model has used specific content in its training can be challenging, as these models do not explicitly "remember" individual sources, but rather generate responses based on patterns learned from their entire training set.

However, some experts suggest that analysis of AI-generated content could provide clues. If an AI model reproduces very specific information or styles that are unique to certain content, it could be inferred that that content was part of its training. This inference, however, is indirect and may not be conclusive without additional information about the AI training dataset. The question is can all this be proven before a judge?

Of course this is a topic that interests us a lot at Proportione and we will keep you informed here.