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Threat To Leave The EU By OpenAI CEO Sparks Criticism From Lawmakers

Threat To Leave The EU By OpenAI CEO Sparks Criticism From Lawmakers
Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI, has been pleading with legislators all around the world to create new regulations for the technology for months. He warned on Wednesday that if the EU "overregulated," the manufacturer of the ChatGPT would quit.
The past week has seen Altman travelling throughout Europe, meeting with leading politicians in France, Spain, Poland, Germany, and the UK to discuss ChatGPT's development and the future of AI.
More than six months after OpenAI first introduced the world to ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot, concerns about its potential have sparked excitement and worry - and put the company at odds with authorities.
Brussels, where EU regulators are drafting the long-awaited EU AI Act, which may be the first set of regulations governing AI globally, was one location Altman missed this week.
Altman postponed a trip to Brussels, according to two persons with knowledge of the situation.
There were no comments available on the issue from OpenAI.
"The current draft of the EU AI Act would be over-regulating, but we have heard it's going to get pulled back," Altman said in London on Wednesday.
Altman's assertions were contested by the EU legislators who drafted the AI Act. "I don't see any dilution happening anytime soon," Dragos Tudorache, a Romanian member of the European Parliament who is in charge of overseeing the creation of EU proposals, told Reuters.
"We are nevertheless happy to invite Mr. Altman to Parliament so he can voice his concerns and hear European lawmakers' thoughts on these issues," he said.
Thierry Breton, the head of the EU industry, also denounced the threat, claiming that the draught regulations are not subject to negotiation.
In the midst of Altman's hectic schedule of meetings with world leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, OpenAI is anticipated to debate in greater depth how AI should be governed on Thursday.
The draught EU law was also worked on by Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who stated that she and her colleagues "shouldn't let ourselves be blackmailed by American companies."
“If OpenAI can’t comply with basic data governance, transparency, safety and security requirements, then their systems aren’t fit for the European market,” she said.
By the end of February, ChatGPT had amassed the fastest-rising user base of any consumer programme ever.
The first time OpenAI and regulators disagreed was in March, when Italian data authority Garante banned the app locally after charging OpenAI of violating European privacy laws. After the corporation implemented new user privacy safeguards, ChatGPT was able to resume operations.
In the meantime, recent amendments to the EU's AI Act mandate that any business using generative tools, such as ChatGPT, reveal any copyrighted data used to train its systems.
The act's draught was approved by EU lawmakers earlier this month. The exact details of the legislation will be negotiated among member states, the European Commission, and Parliament.
Before the law is perhaps ratified later this year, individual member states like France or Poland can also request revisions through the Council of Europe.
Even while the legislation has been in the works for a while, new clauses aimed specifically at generating tools were only developed a few weeks before a crucial vote on the proposals.
According to prior reports, some parliamentarians had first suggested outright outlawing the use of copyrighted content to train generative AI models, but this idea was dropped in favour of more stringent disclosure rules.
“These provisions relate mainly to transparency, which ensures the AI and the company building it are trustworthy. I don't see a reason why any company would shy away from transparency," Tudorache said.
As parliamentarians sorted through their recommendations, Nils Rauer, a technology partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons, said it was "no surprise" Altman had made his views.
"It is unlikely OpenAI will turn its back on Europe. The EU is economically too important," he said. "You cannot carve out the single market, with close to 500 million people and a 15-trillion-euro ($16.51 trillion) economy."
Thursday found Altman in Munich, Germany, where he claimed to have met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
While Altman may be attempting to influence specific nations with his agenda, according to Sergey Lagodinsky, a German MEP who also worked on the legislation, Brussels' intentions to regulate the technology were "in full swing."
“There may be some amendments, of course,” he said. “But I doubt they will change the overall trajectory.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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