Gentoo Linux bans AI-created contributions

The Gentoo Linux distro has unanimously voted to endorse a RFC: banning “AI”-backed (LLM/GPT/whatever) contributions to Gentoo the aim being to “explicitly forbid people from using ChatGPT, Bard, GitHub Copilot, and so on, to create ebuilds, code, documentation, messages, bug reports and so on for use in Gentoo”, the policy has this rationale:

  1. Copyright concerns. At this point, the regulations concerning copyright of generated contents are still emerging worldwide. Using such material could pose a danger of copyright violations, but it could also weaken Gentoo claims to copyright and void the guarantees given by copyleft licensing.
  2. Quality concerns. Popular LLMs are really great at generating plausibly looking, but meaningless content. They are capable of providing good assistance if you are careful enough, but we can’t really rely on that. At this point, they pose both the risk of lowering the quality of Gentoo projects, and of requiring an unfair human effort from developers and users to review contributions and detect the mistakes resulting from the use of AI.
  3. Ethical concerns. The business side of AI boom is creating serious ethical concerns. Among them:
    • Commercial AI projects are frequently indulging in blatant copyright violations to train their models.
    • Their operations are causing concerns about the huge use of energy and water.
    • The advertising and use of AI models has caused a significant harm to employees and reduction of service quality.
    • LLMs have been empowering all kinds of spam and scam efforts.

I’m broadly supportive of this and it will be interesting to see what other community based (as opposed to corporate) distros like Debian decide to do about this issue.

I also think that this is something that co-operatives need to have a good hard think about…