How The ChatGPT Watermark Works And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT presented a way to instantly develop material but plans to introduce a watermarking feature to make it easy to spot are making some people nervous. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there might be a method to defeat it.

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

Some online marketers enjoy it because they’re discovering new methods to use it to generate content briefs, outlines and complex short articles.

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

Subsequently, news of a watermarking function that opens detection of ChatGPT-authored content is similarly prepared for with stress and anxiety and hope.

Cryptographic Watermark

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

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

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

A prominent computer researcher named 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 ways that AI may present a harm to people and producing methods to avoid that type of negative interruption.

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

“The goal of long-lasting artificial intelligence (AI) security is to ensure that innovative AI systems are dependably aligned with human values– that they reliably do things that people want them to do.”

AI Alignment is the expert system field interested in making sure that the AI is lined up with the desired objectives.

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 create AI that advantages humankind.

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

Aaronson explained the factor for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be practical for preventing academic plagiarism, clearly, but also, 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 choices of words and even punctuation marks.

Material created by artificial intelligence is generated with a relatively predictable pattern of word choice.

The words written by people and AI follow an analytical pattern.

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

The technique that makes AI content watermarking undetected is that the distribution of words still have a random appearance comparable to regular AI generated text.

This is referred to as a pseudorandom circulation 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 mentioning that it is planned.

Today ChatGPT is in sneak peeks, which enables OpenAI to find “misalignment” through real-world use.

Most likely watermarking might be introduced in a last variation of ChatGPT or earlier than that.

Scott Aaronson wrote about how watermarking works:

“My primary job up until now has 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 undetectable secret signal in its options of words, which you can use to prove later that, yes, this came from GPT.”

Aaronson explained even more how ChatGPT watermarking works. However first, it’s important to understand the principle of tokenization.

Tokenization is an action that occurs in natural language processing where the maker takes the words in a file and breaks them down into semantic systems like words and sentences.

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

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

This is finished with a mathematical function that figures out the probability of what the next token will be, what’s called a probability circulation.

What word is next is predicted however 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 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 also punctuation marks, parts of words, or more– there have to do with 100,000 tokens in total.

At its core, GPT is constantly generating a probability distribution over the next token to generate, 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 distribution– or some modified version of the distribution, depending upon a parameter called ‘temperature level.’

As long as the temperature level is nonzero, though, there will generally be some randomness in the option of the next token: you might run over and over with the very same timely, and get a various completion (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 secret is understood only to OpenAI.”

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

But that randomness includes a bias that can only be detected by somebody with the key to translate it.

This is the technical description:

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

Watermarking is a Privacy-first Service

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

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

How to Find ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something fascinating that appears to not be popular yet is that Scott Aaronson noted that there is a method to beat the watermarking.

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

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

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

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

There is no sign that the watermarking is presently in usage. However when it does enter use, it might be unidentified if this loophole was closed.


Check out Scott Aaronson’s article here.

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio