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ChatGPT Creator OpenAI Considers EU Departure Over Stringent Regulations

UTC by staff writer · 3 min read
ChatGPT Creator OpenAI Considers EU Departure Over Stringent Regulations
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OpenAI CEO warns of potential exit from Europe if the firm fails to meet regulatory requirements for the forthcoming AI rules.

OpenAI, the brains behind the famous and controversial artificial intelligence (AI) ChatGPT, said Wednesday that it might consider leaving Europe if it faces challenges complying with the upcoming AI regulations in the region. Based in the United States, OpenAI encountered a major legal snag in Italy last month when its Data Protection regulator banned it from processing user requests on suspicion of violating the European Union’s (EU) strict data privacy laws.

Although the data watchdog has since lifted the ban on ChatGPT, the firm is still not out of the loop as the EU is working to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework to police AI. If passed, the EU would be the first region in the world to introduce such rules.

Under the drafted law, software development companies creating generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Adobe’s newly launched Generative Fill are mandated to disclose copyrighted materials used in programming their systems.

OpenAI to Try to Comply with the EU’s AI Act before Withdrawal

The pending legislation has forced OpenAI into considering withdrawal from the region if it fails to meet the requirements for the drafted law. According to a Reuters report, the company’s CEO Sam Altman said during a conference in London that the firm would try to comply with the European regulations once the law is passed before deciding to leave.

Altman believes that the current draft of the EU AI Act is overly stringent in its regulations, but he anticipates that revisions will be made as discussions continue. He also believes there will be ample opportunity for improvement in the drafted law, particularly by reconsidering the definition of general-purpose AI systems.

“The current draft of the EU AI Act would be over-regulating, but we have heard it will get pulled back. There’s so much they can do, like changing the definition of general-purpose AI systems. There’s a lot of things that can be done,” Altman said.

EU lawmakers reached a consensus on the drafted act in April, marking a significant milestone for the proposed laws. However, further debates will be held among representatives from Parliament, the Council, and the Commission to finalize the specifics of the AI regulation.

EU Policymakers Call on the US to Develop Global Governing Principles for AI

The rapid rise in AI popularity has stirred a growing concern for the need to develop a global rulebook to regulate the development of such technologies worldwide.

Last month, some European Union parliamentarians signed a letter calling on US President Joe Biden and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to host a global summit to discuss creating a “preliminary set of governing principles” for developing, controlling, and deploying AI tools.

The letter, signed by the same members of the EU charged with curating the forthcoming AI regulations, comes after a group of prominent figures such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak signed a Future of Life Institute letter asking OpenAI to suspend further development of its chatbot.

The letter seeks to place a six-month temporary ban on developing powerful generative AI tools such as ChatGPT.

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