The Federal Trade Commission has warned technology companies in the United States it intends to crack down on overstated artificial intelligence claims.
The FTC, which promotes consumer rights, has released a statement telling tech companies to “keep your AI claims in check,” as an increasing number of startups use “AI powered” in marketing material without going into detail of how it works.
The agency wrote that when a company says “powered by artificial intelligence” or a version of that phrase, “one thing is for sure: it’s a marketing term.”
“And at the FTC, one thing we know about hot marketing terms is that some advertisers won’t be able to stop themselves from overusing and abusing them.”
The FTC posed four questions to tech companies. The first, “Are you exaggerating what your AI product can do?” tells readers that we’re not living in a time of science fiction, and wild claims that exceed the current capabilities of the technology will not be permitted. It also reminds companies that any claims lacking scientific support or context will also be scrutinized.
Another of the questions speaks of the risks that artificial intelligence products can carry. “If something goes wrong – maybe it fails or yields biased results – you can’t just blame a third-party developer of the technology. And you can’t say you’re not responsible because that technology is a “black box” you can’t understand or didn’t know how to test,” the post reads.
The final question: “Does the product actually use AI at all?” carries the most threat to tech companies, warning them that the FTC can look under the hood of products and analyze other materials to see if the technology matches up to the claims made in marketing materials.
Last week the FTC announced the establishment of an Office of Technology that it says will help root out tech companies “oozing in snake oil.”