Factbox: Governments race to regulate AI tools

September 26, 2023 - 12:44 PM
ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT are complicating governments’ efforts to agree laws governing the use of the technology.

Here are the latest steps national and international governing bodies are taking to regulate AI tools:


  • Planning regulations

Australia will make search engines draft new codes to prevent the sharing of child sexual abuse material created by AI and the production of deepfake versions of the same material, the country’s internet regulator said on Sepember. 8.


  •  Planning regulations

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) set out seven principles on Sept. 18 designed to make developers accountable, prevent Big Tech tying up the tech in their walled platforms, and stop anti-competitive conduct like bundling.

The proposed principles, which come six weeks before Britain hosts a global AI safety summit, will underpin its approach to AI when it assumes new powers in the coming months to oversee digital markets.


  •  Implemented temporary regulations

China issued a set of temporary measures effective from August 15, requiring service providers to submit security assessments and receive clearance before releasing mass-market AI products.

Following government approvals, four Chinese tech firms, including Baidu and SenseTime Group, launched their AI chatbots to the public on August 31.


  •  Planning regulations

EU lawmaker Brando Benifei, who is leading negotiations on the bloc’s AI Act, on September 21 urged member countries to compromise in key areas in order to reach an agreement by the end of the year. EU lawmakers agreed in June to changes in a draft of the law and are now thrashing out details with EU countries before the draft rules can become legislation.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on September 13 called for a global panel to assess the risks and benefits of AI, similarly to the global IPCC panel which informs policy makers about the climate.


  •  Investigating possible breaches

France’s privacy watchdog CNIL said in April it was investigating complaints about ChatGPT after the chatbot was temporarily banned in Italy.


  •  Seeking input on regulations

G7 leaders meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, acknowledged in May the need for governance of AI and immersive technologies and agreed to have ministers discuss the technology as the “Hiroshima AI process” and report results by the end of 2023.


  •  Investigating possible breaches

Italy’s data protection authority plans to review AI platforms and hire experts in the field, a top official said in May. ChatGPT became available to users in Italy in April after being temporarily banned over concerns by the national data protection authority in March.


  •  Investigating possible breaches

Japan expects to introduce by the end of 2023 regulations that are likely closer to the U.S. attitude than the stringent ones planned in the EU, an official close to deliberations said in July.

The country’s privacy watchdog said in June it had warned OpenAI not to collect sensitive data without people’s permission.


  •  Investigating possible breaches

Poland’s Personal Data Protection Office (UODO) said on September 21 it was investigating OpenAI over a complaint that ChatGPT breaks EU data protection laws. The unnamed complainant said OpenAI did not correct false information about them which had been generated by ChatGPT.


  •  Investigating possible breaches

Spain’s data protection agency in April launched a preliminary investigation into potential data breaches by ChatGPT.


  •  Planning regulations

The U.N. Security Council held its first formal discussion on AI in New York in July, addressing both military and non-military applications of AI, which “could have very serious consequences for global peace and security”, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Guterres in June backed a proposal by some AI executives for the creation of an AI watchdog like the International Atomic Energy Agency. He has also announced plans to start work by the end of the year on a high-level AI advisory body to review AI governance arrangements.


  •  Seeking input on regulations

The U.S. Congress held hearings on AI between September 11 and 13 and an AI forum featuring Meta Platforms META.O CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

More than 60 senators took part in the talks, during which Musk called for a U.S. “referee” for AI. Lawmakers said there was universal agreement about the need for government regulation of the technology.

On September 12, the White House said Adobe, IBM, Nvidia and five other firms had signed President Joe Biden’s voluntary commitments governing AI, which require steps such as watermarking AI-generated content.

Washington D.C. district Judge Beryl Howell ruled on Aug. 21 that a work of art created by AI without any human input cannot be copyrighted under U.S. law.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission opened in July an investigation into OpenAI on claims that it has run afoul of consumer protection laws.

– Compiled by Alessandro Parodi and Amir Orusov in Gdansk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Mark Potter, Christina Fincher and Milla Nissi