How The ChatGPT Watermark Works And Why It Could Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT introduced a way to immediately create material however prepares to present a watermarking feature to make it simple to detect are making some people anxious. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there may be a method to defeat it.

ChatGPT is an extraordinary tool that online publishers, affiliates and SEOs at the same time love and fear.

Some online marketers love it because they’re discovering brand-new methods to utilize it to generate content briefs, describes and complicated short articles.

Online publishers are afraid of the prospect of AI material flooding the search results page, supplanting expert short articles written by people.

Subsequently, news of a watermarking feature that unlocks detection of ChatGPT-authored material is likewise expected with stress and 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 original author of the work.

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

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

An influential computer system researcher named Scott Aaronson was employed by OpenAI in June 2022 to deal with AI Security and Positioning.

AI Safety is a research study field concerned with studying ways that AI might position a damage to people and developing methods to prevent that kind of negative disturbance.

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

“The objective of long-lasting expert system (AI) security is to guarantee that innovative AI systems are reliably lined up with human worths– that they reliably do things that people want them to do.”

AI Positioning is the artificial intelligence field interested in ensuring that the AI is aligned with the desired objectives.

A large language model (LLM) like ChatGPT can be used in a manner that might go contrary to the objectives of AI Alignment as defined by OpenAI, which is to produce AI that benefits mankind.

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 useful for avoiding academic plagiarism, certainly, but 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 choices of words and even punctuation marks.

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

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

Altering the pattern of the words used in created material is a way 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 content watermarking undetectable is that the distribution of words still have a random appearance similar to normal AI generated text.

This is described 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 currently in use. However Scott Aaronson at OpenAI is on record specifying that it is planned.

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

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

Scott Aaronson discussed how watermarking works:

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

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

Aaronson explained further how ChatGPT watermarking works. But first, it is essential to understand the principle of tokenization.

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

Tokenization modifications text into a structured type that can be used in artificial intelligence.

The procedure of text generation is the device guessing which token follows based on the previous token.

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

What word is next is predicted but it’s random.

The watermarking itself is what Aaron refers to as pseudorandom, because 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 might be words but likewise punctuation marks, parts of words, or more– there have to do with 100,000 tokens in total.

At its core, GPT is continuously generating a likelihood distribution over the next token to generate, conditional on the string of previous tokens.

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

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

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

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

However that randomness includes a bias that can only be identified by somebody with the secret to decipher it.

This is the technical explanation:

“To highlight, in the diplomatic immunity that GPT had a bunch of possible tokens that it evaluated equally likely, you might simply choose whichever token optimized g. The option would look consistently random to someone who didn’t know the secret, however someone 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 have actually seen discussions on social networks where some people recommended that OpenAI might keep a record of every output it produces and use that for detection.

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

How to Discover ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something interesting that seems to not be popular yet is that Scott Aaronson kept in mind that there is a way to beat 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 sufficient effort.

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

It seems like the watermarking can be defeated, at least in from November when the above declarations were made.

There is no indicator that the watermarking is presently in usage. However when it does come into usage, it may be unidentified if this loophole was closed.


Read Scott Aaronson’s blog post here.

Included image by SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio