The race against the AI right now feels like a 100-meter dash. Companies and customers alike are putting up their best efforts to gain an advantage over one another in this fresh and compelling competition.
However, Google decided to hold off on introducing its Bard AI chatbot in the European Union (EU) until next week. Again. So even though I can hear the bang of the pistol, I am one of the 440 million citizens of the EU who are still standing at the starting blocks.
The Irish Data Protection Commission voiced certain reservations over whether or not Google’s choice would adequately protect the privacy of EU individuals, which ultimately led to the company’s decision. Since Google’s European headquarters are registered in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, Ireland has the ability to make decisions regarding this matter.
The Irish regulator sought an impact assessment and ordered Bard to provide an explanation as to how the company complies with the data protection requirements of the EU. The first thing that Google did in response was to reverse its decision to finally release Bard in the European Union this week. In the meantime, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and 178 other countries have had access to Bard since March.
My disappointment stems from the fact that, since then, Google has failed to present European regulators (or us users) with sufficient pertinent facts to assist in making its case in time for the anticipated launch of Bard in our respective countries.
Given that the privacy regulations of the EU came into effect in 2018 (most commonly referred to over here by their abbreviation GDPR), Google really ought to have been more knowledgeable by this point.
If the goal of the entire globe is to develop AI that is centered on humans, then I am pleased that the regulators in my region chose a proactive approach. It is for the purpose of preventing any of my current rights from being taken away only due to the fact that a business with deep finances is concerned that it is falling behind its rivals in some way.
I won’t waste your time attempting to persuade you that the European Union has created a regulatory nirvana. In all honesty, the Irish Data Protection Commission does not often demonstrate such a high level of passion. In May, it imposed a record $1.3 billion fine on Meta for violating the privacy regulations outlined in the GDPR when it became clear that Meta had broken these rules. It is important to keep in mind that Ireland has no intention of relinquishing its position as the location of the European headquarters of Apple, Meta, Twitter, and Google. It is reassuring to see that it is finally pulling on the same rope as its rivals in Europe.
Jumping back to Google, our relationship with the company hasn’t always been rosy either. The European Commission just recently filed charges against Google, accusing the company of using its online advertising powers to undercut rivals. However, we have seen leaders in the technology industry calling for a temporary suspension of the advancement of the very same technology they helped create. Others have been vocal about their need for new legislation to govern AI.
Is there any truth to what they have to say? Are they really prepared for their desires to be realized if even major corporations are having trouble complying with rules that were passed five years ago?
🔥Regulate us, but not really
I've just left an in-person event with Sam Altman and Ilya Sutskever (OpenAI's CEO & Chief Scientist) at Tel Aviv University, and these were my impressions: pic.twitter.com/3I75uv1ovF
— Luiza Jarovsky (@LuizaJarovsky) June 5, 2023
The United States of America is still the driving force behind the global AI engine; nevertheless, Europe’s hands are beginning to develop a feel for the wheel. I have nothing against this kind of rivalry because I believe it to be beneficial. In the end, we’re partners, and working together is the best way for both of us to advance our goals.
There are other safeguards that we would be delighted if the United States were to steal and put into practice in order to facilitate progress on both sides of the Atlantic.
Don’t base your training on my records.
Users of AI tools shouldn’t be forced to act as instructors for the systems they’re working with, because that’s not their job. After receiving a complaint from Italy, ChatGPT decided to implement data restrictions for all of its users globally. We now have the ability to request that it not train on the data that we supply it with.
It would be fantastic if more AI tools included data controls comparable to this one. A significant number of employees in the United States are secretly utilizing chatbots without informing their managers. If they are successful in preventing the AI from learning from their inputs, then there is a reduced possibility that their customers’ privacy and security will be compromised.
Data removal request
I had to do some searching, but I was eventually successful in finding the form that allows me, as a European, to object to ChatGPT’s models processing any of my personal information. Additionally, I have the right to view, correct, restrict, delete, or transfer any of my personal information that may be included in the information that Open AI uses for training purposes. On the form, it asks me which country I now reside in.
I can see that countries from the EU, the UK, and Japan are on the list. However, the United States of America and a great many more countries are absent from the list. The location of your home shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not you can stop a chatbot from spreading false information about you.
Despite the fact that these protections are unique to ChatGPT, given Ireland’s rigorous monitoring of Bard, it would very much surprise me if Google launched in Europe without offering at the very least the same safeguards.
To give credit where it’s due, Google noticed that action was being taken against ChatGPT, and as a result, the company adopted a more cautious strategy. It chose to engage in conversation with Bard rather than behave in bad faith and push him through the process.
After artificial intelligence businesses begin to realize it is not worthwhile for them to construct two parallel systems, one with great protections for Europeans and one for everyone else, Americans may benefit indirectly from this decision. When the European Union establishes groundbreaking privacy regulations, it propels the rest of the world forward along with it.
Take a look into the future.
Putting aside the data protection standards that are already in place, the breakthroughs in AI that have occurred in the EU parliament (the members of whom are directly elected by our member states) provide US corporations with a glimpse into what their prospective future might look like.
The European Parliament held a vote on Wednesday to establish its position on the world’s first Artificial Intelligence Act. Although it will be some months before they can be put into effect, our brand-new regulations have already begun to address topics such as the stringent supervision of AI law enforcement and AI border control.
I am aware that both of these are controversial issues in the United States; hence, I believe that being well-prepared for the inevitable debate on these subjects will be beneficial. Do you want to give up having a say in the matter and let a computer decide for you, even if you aren’t personally touched by the problems being discussed?
When it is time for parliamentarians in the United States to establish certain laws, there is no doubt that they will model those rules after the position taken by the European Parliament.
This presents an excellent opportunity, in particular for artificial intelligence models that have not yet been constructed, to incorporate the kinds of things that legislators are interested in regulating. In order for a chatbot that Google has made to be in accordance with the law, Google is about to learn what it means to have to modify the chatbot after it has been constructed. Obviously, I am rooting for the Bard team to be successful, but I would give anything to be a fly on the wall during this process so that I could see what obstacles are encountered and how they are overcome.
Making history by shaping our future.
This is what today's groundbreaking vote on the world’s first ever #AI legislation is all about.
It is about Europe taking the lead in digital innovation. pic.twitter.com/jICNwcX9hy
— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) June 14, 2023
Shortly after the EU decision, the President of the Parliament, Roberta Metsola, emphasized that despite the fact that the institution she leads is eager to adapt to the continual advancements in AI, there are two things that there won’t be any concessions on European fundamental rights and democratic ideals.
Thankfully, while I’m waiting for Bard, I have access to a variety of different bots. When that day eventually comes, I have full faith that human regulators and the humans we voted for won’t allow themselves to be bullied around by anyone or anything. If the people who claim to represent you in the United States are as competent as they say they are, then I anticipate that your rights will be prioritized over the rights of a tool.
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