Artificial Intelligence and the Danger of Eating Disorder Promotion

In a society increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence (AI), shocking revelations have recently emerged that highlight a grave concern: AI systems are inadvertently promoting dangerous practices related to eating disorders.

Through a series of tests conducted by researchers and media, some of the most advanced AI chatbots and image generators were found to give harmful advice and generate disturbing images related to body image and weight loss. This issue is far-reaching, affecting platforms like ChatGPT, Bard AI, Snapchat’s My AI buddy, and others.

AI’s Disturbing Advice

These AI systems, designed to provide information and answers to a wide array of questions, were found to respond to queries in ways that could promote or glorify eating disorders. Despite issuing disclaimers and warnings, the bots were found to provide specific drugs for inducing vomiting, detailed guides on unhealthy eating practices, and weight-loss meal plans that are medically unsafe.

The findings are alarming, not only because of the content produced but also because of the seeming ease with which these AI systems could be manipulated to offer such advice.

Disturbing Imagery

Beyond text-based content, AI’s ability to generate images has led to the creation of false and deeply concerning visuals. Requests for “thinspo” or “pro-anorexia” images resulted in fake photos of unhealthily thin bodies, with some so disturbing that they cannot be shared publicly.

The Underlying Problem

This serious issue isn’t just a result of AI’s flawed responses. It’s a reflection of the broader cultural stereotypes and misconceptions about body image that AI has learned from scouring the internet. The AI’s responses are a symptom of deeply rooted societal problems related to body image, and the lack of control by tech companies is allowing this to perpetuate further.

A Call to Tech Companies

While the companies behind these AI technologies have policies against harmful content, the tests revealed that their guardrails were surprisingly easy to bypass. Some companies acknowledged the problem and expressed an intent to improve their safeguards, but the general response was far from satisfactory.

It’s clear that AI’s capacity to give harmful advice on food and weight loss needs urgent attention. There should be an immediate stop to any such advice until it can be ensured that the information provided is safe and medically sound.

The Bigger Picture

This incident underscores the importance of AI ethics, regulation, and the responsibility that tech companies must bear. There is a desperate need for more stringent guidelines, transparency, and collaboration with health experts to ensure that AI products do not inadvertently cause harm.

The promotion of eating disorder content by AI systems is not only a technological failure but a societal one. It’s time for tech companies to take a stronger stance, for governments to enforce stricter regulations, and for all of us to remain vigilant about the potential dangers lurking in the digital landscape.

For those affected by eating disorders, the consequences can be severe and life-threatening. At OnderLaw, we stand with the medical professionals, mental health experts, and advocates who are calling for immediate action. The safety of our community is at stake, and this is an issue that cannot be ignored. We believe in holding companies accountable for the potential harm their products may cause. The dangerous road AI is leading us down with regards to eating disorders is a legal concern that should be addressed with urgency.

If you or a loved one has been affected by the irresponsible actions of AI or other technology-related issues, we urge you to contact our experienced legal team. Together, we can stand against an industry that, so far, has shown more interest in profit than in people’s health and well-being. We must act now, for the sake of our community, our families, and future generations.


Talk to a Lawyer for Free

Need any Help (314) 701-7654