How The ChatGPT Watermark Functions And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT presented a method to automatically produce material however plans to introduce a watermarking function to make it easy to find are making some people nervous. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there may be a method to defeat it.

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

Some online marketers like it because they’re discovering brand-new ways to utilize it to generate content briefs, lays out and intricate articles.

Online publishers are afraid of the prospect of AI material flooding the search results, supplanting specialist articles composed by people.

Consequently, news of a watermarking feature that unlocks detection of ChatGPT-authored content is also expected with anxiety and hope.

Cryptographic Watermark

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

It’s mostly seen in photos and significantly in videos.

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

A prominent computer system researcher named Scott Aaronson was worked with by OpenAI in June 2022 to work on AI Safety and Positioning.

AI Security is a research field concerned with studying ways that AI might present a damage to human beings and creating methods to avoid that kind of negative disturbance.

The Distill scientific journal, featuring authors associated with OpenAI, specifies AI Safety like this:

“The objective of long-term artificial intelligence (AI) security is to ensure that advanced AI systems are reliably lined up with human worths– that they dependably do things that individuals want them to do.”

AI Alignment is the expert system field concerned with making sure that the AI is lined up with the intended objectives.

A big language design (LLM) like ChatGPT can be utilized in a manner that might go contrary to the goals of AI Alignment as defined by OpenAI, which is to create AI that benefits mankind.

Accordingly, the reason for watermarking is to avoid the abuse of AI in a manner that harms mankind.

Aaronson discussed the reason for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be practical for avoiding academic plagiarism, clearly, however likewise, for instance, mass generation of propaganda …”

How Does ChatGPT Watermarking Work?

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

Content created by expert system is created with a relatively predictable pattern of word choice.

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

Changing the pattern of the words used in created content is a way to “watermark” the text to make it easy for a system to spot if it was the product of an AI text generator.

The trick that makes AI content watermarking undetected is that the circulation of words still have a random look comparable to regular AI created text.

This is described as a pseudorandom distribution of words.

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

ChatGPT watermarking is not presently in use. Nevertheless Scott Aaronson at OpenAI is on record specifying that it is prepared.

Right now ChatGPT remains in previews, which enables OpenAI to discover “misalignment” through real-world usage.

Most likely watermarking might be introduced in a last version of ChatGPT or quicker than that.

Scott Aaronson discussed how watermarking works:

“My main project so far has actually been a tool for statistically watermarking the outputs of a text design like GPT.

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

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

Tokenization is an action that takes place in natural language processing where the machine takes the words in a document and breaks them down into semantic units like words and sentences.

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

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

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

What word is next is anticipated but 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 but it is still statistically random.

Here is the technical explanation of GPT watermarking:

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

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

After the neural net creates the circulation, the OpenAI server then in fact samples a token according to that circulation– or some customized variation of the circulation, depending upon a parameter called ‘temperature.’

As long as the temperature is nonzero, however, there will normally be some randomness in the choice of the next token: you could run over and over with the exact same timely, and get a various conclusion (i.e., string of output tokens) each time.

So then to watermark, rather of choosing the next token randomly, the idea will be to select it pseudorandomly, utilizing a cryptographic pseudorandom function, whose secret is understood just to OpenAI.”

The watermark looks entirely natural to those checking out the text since the option of words is imitating the randomness of all the other words.

But that randomness includes a bias that can just be identified by somebody with the secret to decode it.

This is the technical description:

“To highlight, in the diplomatic immunity that GPT had a lot of possible tokens that it judged similarly probable, you might simply pick whichever token optimized g. The choice would look uniformly random to somebody who didn’t know the secret, however someone who did understand the key could later sum g over all n-grams and see that it was anomalously large.”

Watermarking is a Privacy-first Solution

I have actually seen discussions on social media where some individuals suggested that OpenAI could keep a record of every output it produces and use that for detection.

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

How to Identify ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something interesting that appears to not be well known yet is that Scott Aaronson kept in mind that there is a method to defeat the watermarking.

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

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

For example, if you utilized another AI to paraphrase GPT’s output– well all right, we’re not going to have the ability to detect that.”

It appears like the watermarking can be beat, at least in from November when the above statements were made.

There is no indication that the watermarking is currently in usage. But when it does come into usage, it might be unknown if this loophole was closed.


Read Scott Aaronson’s post here.

Included image by Best SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio