How The ChatGPT Watermark Functions And Why It Might Be Defeated

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT introduced a way to immediately produce content however prepares to introduce a watermarking feature to make it simple to spot are making some individuals anxious. This is how ChatGPT watermarking works and why there might be a method to beat it.

ChatGPT is an unbelievable tool that online publishers, affiliates and SEOs simultaneously enjoy and fear.

Some online marketers enjoy it since they’re discovering brand-new ways to use it to generate material briefs, lays out and complicated articles.

Online publishers hesitate of the prospect of AI content flooding the search results page, supplanting professional short articles composed by humans.

Consequently, news of a watermarking function that opens detection of ChatGPT-authored material is similarly anticipated with 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 initial author of the work.

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

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

Scott Aaronson and ChatGPT Watermarking

A prominent computer system scientist called Scott Aaronson was worked with by OpenAI in June 2022 to work on AI Safety and Alignment.

AI Security is a research study field concerned with studying manner ins which AI might posture a damage to human beings and developing methods to prevent that sort of negative disturbance.

The Distill scientific journal, including authors connected with OpenAI, specifies AI Security like this:

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

AI Positioning is the artificial intelligence field interested in making sure that the AI is aligned with the designated objectives.

A large language model (LLM) like ChatGPT can be used in a manner that might go contrary to the goals of AI Positioning as defined by OpenAI, which is to create AI that advantages humankind.

Appropriately, the factor for watermarking is to avoid the abuse of AI in a way that hurts mankind.

Aaronson explained the reason for watermarking ChatGPT output:

“This could be valuable for preventing academic plagiarism, obviously, but also, 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 options of words and even punctuation marks.

Content created by artificial intelligence is generated with a relatively foreseeable pattern of word option.

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

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

The trick that makes AI material watermarking undetected is that the circulation of words still have a random appearance comparable to typical 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 actually random.

ChatGPT watermarking is not presently in use. However Scott Aaronson at OpenAI is on record mentioning that it is planned.

Today ChatGPT remains in previews, which allows OpenAI to discover “misalignment” through real-world usage.

Probably watermarking might be introduced in a last version of ChatGPT or sooner than that.

Scott Aaronson discussed how watermarking works:

“My primary task so far has actually been a tool for statistically watermarking the outputs of a text model like GPT.

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

Aaronson described further how ChatGPT watermarking works. But initially, it is very important to understand the principle of tokenization.

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

Tokenization modifications text into a structured type that can be used in machine learning.

The procedure of text generation is the maker thinking which token comes next based upon 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 likelihood circulation.

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

The watermarking itself is what Aaron refers to 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 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 have to do with 100,000 tokens in overall.

At its core, GPT is constantly creating a possibility circulation 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 variation of the circulation, depending upon a specification called ‘temperature level.’

As long as the temperature level is nonzero, though, there will usually be some randomness in the option of the next token: you might run over and over with the same prompt, and get a various conclusion (i.e., string of output tokens) each time.

So then to watermark, instead of picking the next token randomly, the idea will be to choose it pseudorandomly, utilizing a cryptographic pseudorandom function, whose secret is known only to OpenAI.”

The watermark looks completely natural to those reading the text due to the fact that the choice of words is mimicking the randomness of all the other words.

However that randomness includes a predisposition that can just be detected by somebody with the key to translate it.

This is the technical explanation:

“To highlight, in the diplomatic immunity that GPT had a lot of possible tokens that it judged equally likely, you might just pick whichever token maximized g. The option would look uniformly random to somebody 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 Option

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

Scott Aaronson confirms that OpenAI could do that however that doing so presents a privacy concern. The possible exception is for police circumstance, which he didn’t elaborate on.

How to Detect ChatGPT or GPT Watermarking

Something fascinating that seems to not be well known yet is that Scott Aaronson kept in mind that there is a way to defeat 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 defeated with sufficient effort.

For example, if you used another AI to paraphrase GPT’s output– well okay, we’re not going to be able to detect that.”

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

There is no indication that the watermarking is currently in usage. However when it does enter usage, it may be unidentified if this loophole was closed.


Check out Scott Aaronson’s blog post here.

Included image by Best SMM Panel/RealPeopleStudio