Italy just banned ChatGPT. Could the US be next?


Generative AI models, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, gather data to further refine and train their own models. However, Italy considers this data collection to be a potential violation of user privacy and, consequently, has banned the use of ChatGPT in the country.

Last Friday, the Italian Data Protection Authority released a statement imposing a temporary limitation on the processing of Italian users' data by OpenAI.

The ban aims to address two major concerns: unauthorized collection of user data and the absence of age verification, which exposes children to responses that are deemed "wholly inappropriate for their age and level of comprehension," as stated in the press release.

Regarding data collection, authorities argue that OpenAI has not obtained the necessary legal authorization to collect user data for training its algorithms.

"There seems to be no legal basis supporting the extensive collection and processing of personal data for the purpose of 'training' the platform's algorithms," declares the Italian Data Protection Authority in its press release.

The designated representative of OpenAI in the European Economic Area has 20 days to comply with the order, or else the AI research company could face a fine of up to 20 million euros or 4% of their total worldwide annual turnover.

This decision comes in response to a data breach on March 20, which exposed ChatGPT users' conversations and information on payments made by subscribers.

This breach has underscored the potential risks associated with using AI tools that are still in the research phase but are already available to the public.

So, is a ban on AI developments in the US imminent? Tech leaders in the US have already begun calling for a temporary ban on further AI advancements.

Earlier this week, prominent figures such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI, signed a petition urging AI labs to halt the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 for at least six months.

Similar to the ban in Italy, the proposed pause is intended to protect society from the "profound risks to society and humanity" that AI systems with human-level intelligence can pose.

The petition even urges US lawmakers to consider intervening if the AI labs themselves do not implement the pause.

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