How The ChatGPT Watermark Functions And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT presented a way to automatically develop content however plans to introduce a watermarking function to make it simple to identify are making some people worried. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there might be a way to beat it.

ChatGPT is an extraordinary tool that online publishers, affiliates and SEOs all at once enjoy and dread.

Some online marketers like it since they’re discovering new methods to use it to create material briefs, details and intricate short articles.

Online publishers hesitate of the possibility of AI content flooding the search results page, supplanting specialist short articles written by people.

As a result, news of a watermarking function that unlocks detection of ChatGPT-authored content is similarly prepared for with anxiety and hope.

Cryptographic Watermark

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

It’s mainly seen in photographs and significantly in videos.

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

An influential computer system scientist called Scott Aaronson was worked with by OpenAI in June 2022 to deal with AI Security and Positioning.

AI Security is a research study field concerned with studying manner ins which AI might position a harm to human beings and creating ways to avoid that kind of unfavorable interruption.

The Distill clinical journal, featuring authors affiliated with OpenAI, defines AI Safety like this:

“The goal of long-term expert system (AI) safety is to ensure that advanced AI systems are reliably lined up with human values– that they dependably do things that individuals want them to do.”

AI Positioning is the expert system field interested in making sure that the AI is aligned with the designated objectives.

A large language design (LLM) like ChatGPT can be used in a way that might go contrary to the objectives of AI Positioning as defined by OpenAI, which is to develop AI that advantages mankind.

Accordingly, the factor for watermarking is to avoid the misuse of AI in such a way that damages humanity.

Aaronson discussed the reason for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be useful for avoiding academic plagiarism, certainly, 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 choices of words and even punctuation marks.

Content created by expert system is produced with a fairly foreseeable pattern of word option.

The words composed by human beings and AI follow an analytical pattern.

Changing the pattern of the words utilized in generated material is a method to “watermark” the text to make it simple for a system to discover if it was the item of an AI text generator.

The trick that makes AI material watermarking undetected is that the circulation of words still have a random appearance comparable to typical AI created 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 presently in use. Nevertheless Scott Aaronson at OpenAI is on record stating that it is planned.

Today ChatGPT remains in previews, which allows OpenAI to find “misalignment” through real-world usage.

Probably watermarking might be introduced in a last variation of ChatGPT or quicker than that.

Scott Aaronson discussed how watermarking works:

“My main task up until now has been a tool for statistically watermarking the outputs of a text model like GPT.

Basically, whenever GPT produces some long text, we want there to be an otherwise unnoticeable secret signal in its options of words, which you can use to show later on that, yes, this came from GPT.”

Aaronson described further how ChatGPT watermarking works. But initially, it’s important to understand the idea of tokenization.

Tokenization is a step that happens in natural language processing where the device takes the words in a file and breaks them down into semantic systems like words and sentences.

Tokenization modifications text into a structured form that can be used in machine learning.

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

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

What word is next is forecasted however it’s random.

The watermarking itself is what Aaron refers to as pseudorandom, in that 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 might 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 creating a likelihood circulation over the next token to produce, conditional on the string of previous tokens.

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

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

So then to watermark, rather of picking the next token randomly, the idea will be to select it pseudorandomly, using a cryptographic pseudorandom function, whose key is known just to OpenAI.”

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

But that randomness contains a predisposition that can just be spotted by somebody with the key to decode it.

This is the technical explanation:

“To highlight, in the special case that GPT had a bunch of possible tokens that it judged equally likely, you might merely pick whichever token optimized g. The choice would look evenly random to someone who didn’t know the key, however someone who did know the secret might later sum g over all n-grams and see that it was anomalously large.”

Watermarking is a Privacy-first Solution

I’ve seen discussions on social media where some individuals suggested that OpenAI might keep a record of every output it produces and utilize that for detection.

Scott Aaronson validates that OpenAI might do that but that doing so positions a privacy concern. The possible exception is for law enforcement scenario, which he didn’t elaborate on.

How to Detect ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something intriguing that appears to not be well known yet is that Scott Aaronson noted that there is a way to beat the watermarking.

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

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

For instance, if you utilized another AI to paraphrase GPT’s output– well okay, we’re not going to be able to detect that.”

It appears like the watermarking can be beat, a minimum of in from November when the above statements were made.

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


Check out Scott Aaronson’s article here.

Featured image by SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio