Design a responsible approach

Adding GenAI to your application can bring tremendous power and value to your users, but it also requires a keen eye to maintain the safety and privacy that your users expect.

Design for safety

Each GenAI-enable feature presents opportunities to design layers of safety. As shown in the following figure, one way you can think about safety is to put the AI model that enables this feature in the center. This model should be:

  • Aligned to perform its assigned task;
  • Protected by safeguards to make sure that out-of-bounds inputs and outputs are rejected; and
  • Evaluated holistically to assess how the model and system respond to safety-impacting interactions.

Functional diagram of responsible AI practices

Check out the "Creating Responsible AI Products" session from Google I/O 2024 to learn more about design considerations, thought exercises, and prototyping methods that can help accelerate your responsible development practices.

Additionally, you can learn best practices and see examples for:

Above all, remember that a sound approach to safety and responsibility is one that is self-reflective and adaptive to technical, cultural, and process challenges. Engage yourself and your team in regular critical reviews of your approach to ensure the best outcomes.

Define system-level policies

Content safety policies define what types of harmful content are not permitted in an online platform. You may be familiar with content policies from platforms like YouTube or Google Play. Content policies for generative AI applications are similar: They define what type of content your application shouldn't generate and they guide how to tune models and which appropriate safeguards to add.

Your policies should reflect your application's use case. For example, a generative AI product intended to offer ideas for family activities based on community suggestions might have a policy that prohibits the generation of content that is violent in nature, as it could be harmful to users. Conversely, an application that summarizes science fiction story ideas proposed by users may want to allow generation of violence, since it's a subject of many stories in this genre.

Your safety policies should prohibit the generation of content that is harmful to users or illegal, and should specify what types of generated content meet that bar for your application. You may also want to consider including exceptions for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic content that might otherwise be considered harmful.

Defining clear policies with a highly granular level of detail, including exceptions to the policy with examples, is fundamental to building a responsible product. Your policies are used at each step of your model development. For data cleaning or labeling, imprecision can lead to mislabeled data, over-removal, or under-removal of data which will impact your model's safety responses. For evaluation purposes, ill-defined policies will lead to high inter-rater variance, making it more difficult to know if your model meets your safety standards.

Hypothetical policies (for illustration only)

The following are some examples of policies you might consider using for your application, provided they match your use case.

Policy category Policy
Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (SPII) The application will not recite sensitive and personally identifiable information (e.g., email, credit card number, or social security number of a private individual).
Hate Speech The application will not generate negative or harmful content targeting identity and/or protected attributes (e.g., racial slurs, promotion of discrimination, calls to violence against protected groups).
Harassment The application will not generate malicious, intimidating, bullying, or abusive content targeting another individual (e.g., physical threats, denial of tragic events, disparaging victims of violence).
Dangerous Content The application will not generate instructions or advice on harming oneself and/or others (e.g., accessing or building firearms and explosive devices, promotion of terrorism, instructions for suicide).
Sexually Explicit The application will not generate content that contains references to sexual acts or other lewd content (e.g., sexually graphic descriptions, content aimed at causing arousal).
Enabling Access to Harmful Goods and Services The application will not generate content that promotes or enables access to potentially harmful goods, services, and activities (e.g., facilitating access to promoting gambling, pharmaceuticals, fireworks, sexual services).
Malicious Content The application will not generate instructions for performing illegal or deceptive activities (e.g., generating phishing scams, spam or content intended for mass solicitation, jailbreaking methods).

Transparency artifacts

Documentation is a key method of achieving transparency for developers, governments, policy actors, and end users of your product. This can entail releasing detailed technical reports or model, data, and system cards that appropriately make public essential information based on safety and other model evaluations. Transparency artifacts are more than communication vehicles; they also offer guidance for AI researchers, deployers, and downstream developers on the responsible use of the model. The information is helpful for end users of your product as well, who want to understand details about the model.

Some transparency guidelines to consider:

  • Be clear with users when they are engaging with an experimental generative AI technology and highlight the possibility of unexpected model behavior.
  • Offer thorough documentation on how the generative AI service or product works using understandable language. Consider publishing structured transparency artifacts such as model cards. These cards provide the intended use of your model and summarize evaluations that have been performed throughout model development.
  • Show people how they can offer feedback and how they're in control, such as:
    • Providing mechanisms to help users validate fact-based questions
    • Thumbs up and down icons for user feedback
    • Links to report problems and offer support for rapid response to user feedback
    • User control for storing or deleting user activity

Secure AI Systems

GenAI-enabled applications present complex attack surfaces that necessitate more diverse mitigations than conventional applications. Google's Secure AI Framework (SAIF) provides a holistic conceptual framework to consider how to design your GenAI-enabled application for secure uses. This framework can help you assess how to employ alignment, adversarial evaluation, and safeguards effectively to help secure your application, though remember that these are only the starting blocks. Additional changes to organization practices, monitoring, and alerting are likely to be required to achieve your security goals for your specific use case and context.

Developer resources

Examples of generative AI policies:

There is no single template for transparency artifacts across the industry, but existing model cards can serve as a starting point to create your own:

Additional References