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Microsoft Azure AI Studio Unveils New Safety Features to Combat AI Manipulation

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 1, 2024
Microsoft Azure AI Studio Unveils New Safety Features to Combat AI Manipulation

Microsoft Corp. is stepping up its game to counter the trend of users attempting to manipulate its AI chatbots into performing unusual or unauthorized actions.

In a recent announcement via a blog post on March 28th, Thursday, Microsoft revealed the integration of new safety features within Azure AI Studio. This platform enables developers to create bespoke AI assistants, fortified with the company’s own data.

Among the newly introduced tools are “prompt shields,” aimed at identifying and thwarting intentional manipulations known as prompt injection attacks or jailbreaks. These tactics involve users coaxing AI models to act out of line, whether for mischief or more sinister purposes such as data theft or system hijacking.

Microsoft’s Strategy for Defense

Sarah Bird, Microsoft’s chief product officer of responsible AI, highlighted the threat these manipulative attempts pose, describing them as both unique challenges and security risks.

The company’s strategy to bolster defenses includes mechanisms for detecting dubious input and neutralizing it quickly. Additionally, Microsoft plans to implement alerts to inform users when an AI-generated response is fabricated or inaccurate.

Reinforcing Trust in Generative AI Offerings

The initiative reflects Microsoft’s commitment to reinforcing trust in its generative AI offerings, which attract a diverse user base ranging from individual consumers to large enterprises. The urgency of enhancing security measures became apparent after Microsoft encountered several incidents with its Copilot chatbot.

An investigation revealed that users were intentionally provoking the chatbot to produce bizarre or detrimental content. According to Bird, such incidents are becoming more frequent as the AI tools gain popularity and users become more knowledgeable about exploiting their vulnerabilities.

Bird emphasized the importance of collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI in safeguarding against the inherent weaknesses of AI models, acknowledging that the models alone are not foolproof against manipulation attempts. This proactive approach aims not only to prevent misuse but also to ensure that AI continues to serve as a reliable and beneficial tool for all users.

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Featured Image courtesy of SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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