How The ChatGPT Watermark Functions And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT introduced a method to automatically develop material however plans to introduce a watermarking feature to make it easy to identify are making some individuals worried. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there may be a method to defeat it.

ChatGPT is an incredible tool that online publishers, affiliates and SEOs at the same time like and dread.

Some online marketers love it since they’re finding brand-new ways to use it to produce material briefs, lays out and intricate articles.

Online publishers hesitate of the prospect of AI material flooding the search engine result, supplanting professional articles composed by human beings.

Consequently, news of a watermarking feature that opens 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 original author of the work.

It’s largely seen in photographs and progressively in videos.

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

An influential computer researcher named Scott Aaronson was hired by OpenAI in June 2022 to work on AI Safety and Alignment.

AI Safety is a research field interested in studying manner ins which AI may present a damage to human beings and producing ways to avoid that type of negative interruption.

The Distill clinical journal, featuring authors connected with OpenAI, defines AI Security like this:

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

AI Positioning is the artificial intelligence field worried about making certain that the AI is lined up with the designated goals.

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

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

Aaronson discussed the reason for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be helpful for preventing academic plagiarism, certainly, however likewise, 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.

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

The words composed by human beings and AI follow a statistical pattern.

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

The technique that makes AI material watermarking undetected is that the circulation of words still have a random look comparable to regular AI generated text.

This is referred to as a pseudorandom distribution of words.

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

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

Right now ChatGPT is in previews, which permits OpenAI to find “misalignment” through real-world use.

Presumably watermarking may be introduced in a last variation of ChatGPT or sooner than that.

Scott Aaronson wrote about how watermarking works:

“My primary job so far has actually 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 undetectable secret signal in its choices of words, which you can utilize to prove later on that, yes, this came from GPT.”

Aaronson explained further how ChatGPT watermarking works. However initially, it is necessary to comprehend the concept of tokenization.

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

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

The process of text generation is the machine guessing which token follows based on the previous token.

This is finished with a mathematical function that determines the likelihood of what the next token will be, what’s called a likelihood 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 reason 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 might be words however likewise punctuation marks, parts of words, or more– there are about 100,000 tokens in total.

At its core, GPT is constantly generating a likelihood circulation over the next token to create, conditional on the string of previous tokens.

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

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

So then to watermark, instead of choosing the next token arbitrarily, the concept will be to choose it pseudorandomly, utilizing a cryptographic pseudorandom function, whose secret is known just to OpenAI.”

The watermark looks entirely natural to those reading the text because the option of words is simulating the randomness of all the other words.

But that randomness contains a bias that can only be identified by someone with the secret to translate it.

This is the technical explanation:

“To show, in the special case that GPT had a lot of possible tokens that it judged equally possible, you could simply select whichever token taken full advantage of g. The option would look consistently random to someone who didn’t understand the secret, however somebody who did understand the secret could later sum g over all n-grams and see that it was anomalously large.”

Watermarking is a Privacy-first Solution

I’ve seen conversations on social networks where some people suggested that OpenAI could keep a record of every output it creates and utilize that for detection.

Scott Aaronson confirms that OpenAI could do that however that doing so postures a privacy issue. The possible exception is for law enforcement situation, which he didn’t elaborate on.

How to Find ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

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

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

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

For instance, if you used another AI to paraphrase GPT’s output– well okay, we’re not going to have the ability to detect that.”

It seems 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 use. However when it does come into use, it might be unidentified if this loophole was closed.


Read Scott Aaronson’s blog post here.

Featured image by SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio