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ChatGPT, The European Union, And The Fight For AI’s Future

Italy landed the first blow, but other countries are poised to follow. ChatGPT, The European Union, And The Fight For AI’s Future Jonathan L Reyes/Giphy

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Concerns about the capabilities and privacy risks associated with artificial intelligence are hardly new, but the recent acceleration in the proliferation of such tools has amplified the need for some regulatory guardrails.

And the European Union has been at the forefront of trying to rein in the leading AI developers.

Italy vs. OpenAI

The Italian government issued an opening salvo in the push for new AI restrictions by essentially banning ChatGPT (the popular and powerful chatbot created by OpenAI) nationwide.

Late last month, however, that ban was quietly lifted and there weren’t any major changes in the way the chatbot operated.

Nevertheless, Italian regulators are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to major national and international agencies seeking to define what AI can and can’t legally do.

Since the EU already has its General Data Protection Regulation in effect, it seems to stand most ready to implement some serious regulations.

So far, there are several factors inherent in the way ChatGPT and similar programs operate that arguably run afoul of the GDPR’s standards, including:

  • The spread of misinformation
  • Copyright infringement
  • Insufficient data protection

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the popularity of ChatGPT since it first went live last year. It remains to be seen whether the sheer number of users will be enough to help the service bypass the concerns of some regulators.

What happens next

Now that even some of the people who have worked on AI for many years are sounding the alarms about potential pitfalls, it’s no wonder that governments and watchdog organizations are taking notice.

No other country has gone as far as Italy, but Germany, France, and Spain are conducting probes into ChatGPT. Canada also launched an investigation and U.S. officials met with AI leaders this week to discuss concerns.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee May 6th, 2023
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