In Global Rush to Regulate AI, Europe Set to Be Trailblazer
Artificial intelligence’s rapid rise has amazed and impressed users around the world, creating music, images, and written content. At the same time, it has amplified fears about its consequences. The European Union unveiled groundbreaking AI regulations two years ago as the first Western bloc, targeting risky but focused applications. However, they barely mentioned chatbots and general-purpose AI systems. The recent explosion of the ChatGPT tool compelled European lawmakers to add language on general AI systems into their legislation.
The Emergence of ChatGPT
Released last year, ChatGPT caught the world’s attention for its human-like responses generated by studying vast amounts of online material. As concerns surfaced, European lawmakers acted fast in recent weeks to add language regarding general-purpose AI systems to the legislation. The EU’s AI Act could become the global standard for AI as companies and organizations may choose to comply rather than produce different products for different regions, considering the enormity of the EU’s single market.
Risks Associated with ChatGPT and General-Purpose AI Systems
Authorities worldwide are grappling with ways to regulate the rapidly evolving technology to protect people’s rights and safety while improving their lives. Regulators are apprehensive about the ethical and societal risks posed by ChatGPT and general-purpose AI systems, which could potentially transform daily life, ranging from privacy concerns to education, copyright, and employment.
EU’s Sweeping AI Regulations
The EU’s broad regulations expected to cover all AI service providers or product manufacturers are expected to receive approval by a European Parliament committee on Thursday. Following this, they would head for negotiations between the 27 member countries’ parliaments and the EU’s executive Commission. The EU’s sweeping regulations influencing the rest of the world, also called Brussels Effect, have previously played out after mandating common phone-charging cables and tightening data privacy. However, such efforts have been criticized for stifling innovation.
– China has issued draft regulations mandating security assessments for any generative AI systems products like ChatGPT.
– The UK’s competition watchdog has launched a review of the AI market.
– The Italian government briefly banned ChatGPT over a privacy breach.
– The White House recently invited AI experts from companies including Google, Microsoft and ChatGPT’s creator OpenAI to discuss potential risks.
The European Union is aiming to become a global leader in AI regulations by drawing up legislation covering all aspects of the market. Although the EU’s previous attempts have been criticized for limiting innovation, experts believe that attitudes could be different this time around. Tech leaders such as Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have called for a six-month pause to evaluate the risks, while AI pioneers, including Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, have raised concerns about unchecked AI development.
It is fair to say that the EU is in the forefront of AI regulations, and its AI Act could become the de facto global standard. Its sweeping regulations covering all AI manufacturers’ product services are expected to gain approval soon. Regulators are concerned about the ethical and societal risks posed by AI, such as ChatGPT and general-purpose AI systems. Despite previous criticisms of stifling innovation, attitudes towards AI have changed dramatically, and experts believe that this time, the EU’s legislation could be instrumental in leading the way in AI regulation globally.