AI Startup Wants to Make Sure Chatbots Don’t Tell People How to Vote

The co-founder of Inflection AI is talking with other large startups about defining the role artificial intelligence will play in elections.

(Bloomberg) — Inflection AI, an artificial intelligence startup that has raised more than $1.5 billion from investors, is seeking to coordinate with other industry leaders to limit the role that AI chatbots will play in elections — including in the upcoming US presidential race.

Inflection AI co-founder Mustafa Suleyman said that the company’s chatbot, Pi, will not be allowed to advocate for any political candidate. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, on Tuesday, Suleyman also said that the company is in discussions with other startups in advance of the 2024 US presidential election, hoping that they will similarly agree to prevent their chatbots from recommending specific candidates.

Even if chatbots were perfect, “that’s probably got to remain a human part of the process,” he said. “That’s critical to our democracy.”

The startup is currently “in talks with all the big AI companies” about preventing political commentary in their products, Suleyman said, noting that such measures could include making chatbots resistant to engaging with questions about who to vote for.

“Our goal isn’t to provide that public service,” he said. “It’s highly contentious and we may get it wrong, so our role is to step back from that.”

Suleyman, who also co-founded Google’s influential artificial intelligence lab, DeepMind, made the statements in response to a question about the 2024 election and the role AI may play.

Since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022, a slew of powerful chatbots have been rolled out from companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inflection AI and Anthropic, all capable of answering questions, summarizing text and performing other tasks in response to prompts from users. The companies behind these services often limit their capabilities — for instance, a bot might decline to answer a question about how to rob a bank — but there are few existing rules limiting how these tools can be used.

Inflection AI, co-founded by former LinkedIn Chief Executive Officer Reid Hoffman, has positioned its bot Pi as “useful, friendly and fun,” with the goal of creating both a conversationalist and personal assistant for users. The company launched in 2022 and is currently valued at $4 billion.

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