How The ChatGPT Watermark Functions And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT introduced a way to instantly create material but plans to present a watermarking feature to make it simple to spot are making some individuals anxious. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there might be a way to defeat it.

ChatGPT is an unbelievable tool that online publishers, affiliates and SEOs simultaneously like and fear.

Some marketers like it due to the fact that they’re discovering new methods to utilize it to produce content briefs, details and intricate short articles.

Online publishers hesitate of the prospect of AI content flooding the search results page, supplanting professional articles written by human beings.

As a result, news of a watermarking function that opens detection of ChatGPT-authored material is likewise expected with anxiety and hope.

Cryptographic Watermark

A watermark is a semi-transparent mark (a logo design or text) that is ingrained onto an image. The watermark signals who is the original author of the work.

It’s mostly seen in pictures and increasingly in videos.

Watermarking text in ChatGPT includes cryptography in the type of embedding a pattern of words, letters and punctiation in the form of a secret code.

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

An influential computer system researcher named Scott Aaronson was employed by OpenAI in June 2022 to deal with AI Safety and Alignment.

AI Safety is a research study field interested in studying manner ins which AI may pose a harm to people and producing methods to prevent that kind of unfavorable disruption.

The Distill scientific journal, including authors affiliated with OpenAI, defines AI Safety like this:

“The objective of long-term artificial intelligence (AI) safety is to make sure that innovative AI systems are dependably lined up with human values– that they dependably do things that individuals desire them to do.”

AI Positioning is the expert system field concerned with making certain that the AI is aligned with the desired objectives.

A large language model (LLM) like ChatGPT can be used in a way that may go contrary to the goals of AI Positioning as specified by OpenAI, which is to create AI that advantages humanity.

Accordingly, the factor for watermarking is to prevent the abuse of AI in a way that hurts humankind.

Aaronson explained the factor for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be helpful for avoiding academic plagiarism, clearly, but also, for example, mass generation of propaganda …”

How Does ChatGPT Watermarking Work?

ChatGPT watermarking is a system that embeds a statistical pattern, a code, into the options of words and even punctuation marks.

Content created by artificial intelligence is produced with a fairly predictable pattern of word choice.

The words written by humans and AI follow a statistical pattern.

Changing the pattern of the words used in generated content is a method to “watermark” the text to make it easy for a system to find if it was the item of an AI text generator.

The technique that makes AI content watermarking undetectable is that the distribution of words still have a random look comparable to regular AI produced text.

This is referred to as a pseudorandom distribution of words.

Pseudorandomness is a statistically random series of words or numbers that are not actually random.

ChatGPT watermarking is not currently in usage. However Scott Aaronson at OpenAI is on record specifying that it is prepared.

Right now ChatGPT remains in sneak peeks, which permits OpenAI to discover “misalignment” through real-world usage.

Most likely watermarking may be presented in a last version of ChatGPT or faster than that.

Scott Aaronson blogged about how watermarking works:

“My primary job so far has been a tool for statistically watermarking the outputs of a text design like GPT.

Basically, whenever GPT generates some long text, we desire there to be an otherwise unnoticeable secret signal in its choices of words, which you can utilize to prove later that, yes, this came from GPT.”

Aaronson explained even more how ChatGPT watermarking works. But initially, it’s important to comprehend the principle of tokenization.

Tokenization is a step that occurs in natural language processing where the machine takes the words in a document and breaks them down into semantic systems like words and sentences.

Tokenization changes text into a structured kind that can be utilized in artificial intelligence.

The process of text generation is the maker thinking which token comes next based on the previous token.

This is finished with a mathematical function that determines the possibility of what the next token will be, what’s called a possibility distribution.

What word is next is anticipated but it’s random.

The watermarking itself is what Aaron describes as pseudorandom, because there’s a mathematical factor for a specific word or punctuation mark to be there however it is still statistically random.

Here is the technical description of GPT watermarking:

“For GPT, every input and output is a string of tokens, which could be words but likewise punctuation marks, parts of words, or more– there have to do with 100,000 tokens in overall.

At its core, GPT is constantly producing a possibility distribution over the next token to create, conditional on the string of previous tokens.

After the neural net generates the circulation, the OpenAI server then really samples a token according to that distribution– or some modified version of the circulation, depending on a parameter called ‘temperature level.’

As long as the temperature is nonzero, however, there will usually be some randomness in the option of the next token: you might run over and over with the very same prompt, and get a different conclusion (i.e., string of output tokens) each time.

So then to watermark, rather of choosing the next token arbitrarily, the concept will be to select it pseudorandomly, using a cryptographic pseudorandom function, whose key is understood just to OpenAI.”

The watermark looks entirely natural to those reading the text since the choice of words is mimicking the randomness of all the other words.

However that randomness includes a bias that can only be detected by someone with the secret to decipher it.

This is the technical explanation:

“To illustrate, in the special case that GPT had a bunch of possible tokens that it judged similarly possible, you might simply choose whichever token made the most of g. The option would look evenly random to someone who didn’t understand the key, but somebody who did understand the secret could later on sum g over all n-grams and see that it was anomalously big.”

Watermarking is a Privacy-first Option

I have actually seen conversations on social networks where some individuals suggested that OpenAI might keep a record of every output it creates and utilize that for detection.

Scott Aaronson verifies that OpenAI could do that but that doing so poses a privacy problem. The possible exception is for police situation, which he didn’t elaborate on.

How to Detect ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something intriguing that seems to not be popular yet is that Scott Aaronson noted that there is a way to beat the watermarking.

He didn’t state it’s possible to defeat the watermarking, he stated that it can be defeated.

“Now, this can all be defeated with sufficient effort.

For example, if you used another AI to paraphrase GPT’s output– well all right, we’re not going to be able to identify that.”

It seems like the watermarking can be defeated, at least in from November when the above declarations were made.

There is no sign that the watermarking is currently in usage. But when it does enter use, it might be unknown if this loophole was closed.


Check out Scott Aaronson’s post here.

Featured image by SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio