Does OpenAI Actually Prohibit ChatGPT-Powered Sexbot Avatars in the Metaverse?

One point raised by readers of my story about the inevitable arrival of ChatGPT-powered sexbot avatars in Second Life: Is this even allowed by the service’s owner, OpenAI?

Stone Johnson, creator of the Uma bot that I interviewed, answers the question this way:

I should say that there is no violation of Terms of Service because this is solely roleplay without any intent or occurrence of real sexual activity. It is strictly metaverse roleplay, in regions of Second Life classified Adult.

Furthermore, the discussions are non-erotic and it is only the additional AI components of my separate code systems, and the visual and role play contexts that might be construed as being erotic. [As has been noted], there is active and strong filtering of Adult content in GPT 3.5-Turbo.

In other words, the sex bots’ “minds” are powered by ChatGPT, but ChatGPT itself doesn’t power the bots’ sexual/physical/proprioceptive features. (Which suggests a fascinating if kinky new twist to Descartes’ mind-body problem.)

In any case, OpenAI’s Terms of Use displayed here actually don’t mention anything that prohibits sexual content per se:

Restrictions. You may not (i) use the Services in a way that infringes, misappropriates or violates any person’s rights; (ii) reverse assemble, reverse compile, decompile, translate or otherwise attempt to discover the source code or underlying components of models, algorithms, and systems of the Services (except to the extent such restrictions are contrary to applicable law); (iii) use output from the Services to develop models that compete with OpenAI; (iv) except as permitted through the API, use any automated or programmatic method to extract data or output from the Services, including scraping, web harvesting, or web data extraction; (v) represent that output from the Services was human-generated when it is not or otherwise violate our Usage Policies; (vii) buy, sell, or transfer API keys without our prior consent; or (viii), send us any personal information of children under 13 or the applicable age of digital consent. You will comply with any rate limits and other requirements in our documentation. You may use Services only in geographies currently supported by OpenAI.

So nothing at all that would prohibit, say, sexbot avatars in the Metaverse. To make things confusing, I’ve seen some other official wording elsewhere that suggests OpenAI does prohibit ChatGPT being used for pornography, but at best we’re dealing with mixed messages.

In any case, we probably will reach a point in practical terms where this question needs to be debated in the public.

“The way I see this going is like cable in the 1970s,” as Johnson puts it. “At first people tried to censor stuff but then free speech won the day. This is more complex because of how the content is being created, but eventually OpenAI will have to do naughty stuff or they will go the way of the Digital Equipment Corporation and Silicon Graphics.” (Both of those being once-successful computer companies that started going defunct during the 90s. Which I, um, had to look them up.)

It seems a bit drastic to suggest OpenAI will go the way of Silicon Graphics, but it’s definitely true that generative AI companies will have to confront the sex question sooner or later. Marketing evangelists can’t honestly tout AI as the future of content creation when a good portion of our existing mainstream content verges into adult territory. And like I said last week, metaverse platforms are themselves a key market for AI. And you know what goes on there!

Speaking of which, if you want to meet Johnson’s bots in person, here’s a teleport link to a highly not worksafe showroom in Second Life.

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