OpenAI is rowing back and yet does not plan to leave Europe

Status: 05/26/2023 3:18 p.m

In view of a new law regulating artificial intelligence, the head of OpenAI had threatened to withdraw from the European market. Today the ChatGPT operator rowed back.

OpenAI is apparently not planning to withdraw from the European Union (EU) after all. “We are delighted to continue operating here and of course have no plans to leave Europe,” wrote Sam Altman, co-founder and chief operating officer of ChatGPT, on Twitter today. In doing so, he reversed his threat on Wednesday to turn his back on the European market in view of the planned regulations for artificial intelligence (AI).

OpenAI is considering withdrawing from the EU due to the planned regulation of AI.

EU does not want to be intimidated

“The current draft of the EU AI law would be over-regulation,” Altman had criticized. Yesterday, however, the head of the Microsoft holding was already more forgiving. “AI should be regulated,” he said at a discussion event at the Technical University (TU) in Munich. “We called for it.” There are also approaches in Europe that are quite good. “But we need more clarity.” One should wait and see how AI develops and only then intervene on the part of the state.

His threat to leave Europe had drawn criticism from EU industry boss Thierry Breton and a number of other lawmakers. Altman had spent the past week touring Europe and meeting with leaders in France, Spain, Poland, Germany and the UK to discuss the future of AI and the progress of ChatGPT. He called his tour a “very productive week of talks in Europe on how best to regulate AI”.

Responding to Altman’s tweet, Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who worked closely on drafting the AI ​​regulations, told Reuters today that she and her colleagues must withstand pressure from tech companies. “I hope that we will continue to stand firm and ensure that these companies have clear commitments around transparency, safety and environmental standards,” she said. A voluntary code of conduct is not the European way.”

In a race against rival Microsoft, Google has presented a new version of its Internet search engine.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act in its final stages

In view of various AI dangers, the EU is planning a so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act. The law aims to extensively regulate the provision and use of AI by private and public actors. Among other things, the law stipulates that companies developing so-called generative AI such as ChatGPT must disclose the copyrighted material used.

The EU parliamentarians had agreed on the draft of the law earlier this month. Representatives of the Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission are currently finalizing the details. In addition to the consultations on regulation, the EU wants to persuade companies to make a voluntary commitment. To this end, the Commission is planning a framework agreement with the Internet group Google and other companies. The proposal is still the subject of ongoing discussions.

With the release of ChatGPT, OpenAI triggered the current hype about Generative AI. It simulates human interaction and can create text based on a few keywords. According to experts, this also increases the risk of disinformation campaigns. OpenAI was recently criticized for not disclosing the training data for its latest AI model, GPT-4. The company justified the non-disclosure with the “competitive environment and the security aspects”.

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