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Saturday, July 13, 2024

AI Chatbot Pretends to Be Human Doctor, Urges Teen to Upload Intimate Photos

'The fact that this bot does this and there aren’t guardrails in place to protect against it just goes to the rush to get AIs out into the world without thinking about the implications...'

(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) A popular AI robocall service, created by Bland AI in San Francisco, was criticized by people after it was revealed that the AI chatbot was claiming to be a human and asking a 14-year-old girl to upload intimate photos of herself online.

It was recently reported by Wired that Bland AI’s demo bot, Blandy, was programmed during the investigation to act as a pediatric dermatology office employee in a hypothetical scenario involving a 14-year-old. Blandy claimed to be human and told the teenager to take and upload photos of her upper thigh to a shared cloud storage.

“I know this might feel a little awkward, but it’s really important that your doctor is able to get a good look at those moles. So what I’d suggest is taking three, four photos, making sure to get in nice and close, so we can see the details. You can use the zoom feature on your camera if needed. Once you have the photos, just upload them to your Dropbox account, like we discussed,” the bot said.

After the incident was discovered, Michael Burke, Bland AI’s head of growth, informed the news source that the company is “making sure nothing unethical is happening.” Critics, however, became very concerned about what happened, saying that the technology could be used unethically.

“My opinion is that it is absolutely not ethical for an AI chatbot to lie to you and say it’s human when it’s not. That’s just a no-brainer because people are more likely to relax around a real human,” Jen Caltrider, director of the Mozilla Foundation’s Privacy Not Included research hub, said.

Caltrider also mentioned her concerns regarding the rapid development of AI technology without sufficient safeguards.

“The fact that this bot does this and there aren’t guardrails in place to protect against it just goes to the rush to get AIs out into the world without thinking about the implications,” she said.

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