While the bill is not final and may take years to come into effect, it reflects the shape of things to come, ChatGPT being utilised in a number of our daily activities currently
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as ChatGPT, were not initially included in the European Union’s plans for regulating AI. However, according to a Reuter’s report, due to the explosion of interest in generative AI, EU lawmakers have raced to update those rules, culminating in a new draft of the legislation that identifies copyright protection as a core piece of the effort to keep AI in check.
The speed of the lawmakers’ work in creating the draft legislation is a rare example of consensus in Brussels, which is often criticised for the slow pace of decision-making. The draft bill is not final, and it will likely take years to come into force. Nevertheless, it is expected to reshape the regulatory landscape for OpenAI and its competitors.
The Amazing Growth of ChatGPT
Since its launching in November, ChatGPT has become the fastest-growing app in history, sparking a flurry of activity from Big Tech competitors and investment in generative AI startups. The runaway popularity of such applications led EU industry chief Thierry Breton and others to call for regulation of ChatGPT-like services.
On April 17, the dozen MEPs involved in drafting the legislation signed an open letter agreeing with some parts of a letter issued by an organisation backed by Elon Musk, warning of existential risk from AI and calling for stricter regulations. Two of the MEPs then proposed changes that would force companies with generative AI systems to disclose any copyrighted material used to train their models. That tough new proposal received cross-party support.
One proposal by conservative MEP Axel Voss, forcing companies to request permission from rights holders before using the data, was rejected as too restrictive and something that could hobble the emerging industry. After thrashing out the details over the next week, the EU outlined proposed laws that could force an uncomfortable level of transparency on a notoriously secretive industry.
Under new proposals targeting “foundation models,” companies like OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft Corp, would have to disclose any copyrighted material – books, photographs, videos, and more – used to train their systems. Claims of copyright infringement have rankled AI firms in recent months with Getty Images suing Stable Diffusion for using copyrighted photos to train its systems. OpenAI has also faced criticism for refusing to share details of the dataset used to train its software.
“I must admit that I was positively surprised on how we converged rather easily on what should be in the text on these models,” said Dragos Tudorache, one of the MEPs involved in drafting the legislation. “It shows there is a strong consensus, and a shared understanding on how to regulate at this point in time.”
While MEPs were initially unconvinced that generative AI deserved any special consideration, they now agree on the need for laws specifically targeting the use of generative AI. The final compromise is innovation-friendly as it does not classify these models as ‘high risk,’ but sets requirements for transparency and quality. The committee will vote on the deal on May 11, and if successful, it will advance to the next stage of negotiation, the trilogue, where EU member states will debate the contents with the European Commission and Parliament.
In conclusion, the new draft EU law requires copyright protection for AI technologies like ChatGPT, and it is expected to reshape the regulatory landscape for OpenAI and its competitors. The proposed laws will force transparency on a notoriously secretive industry and provide innovation-friendly requirements for quality and transparency. While it may take years for the draft bill to come into force, it is a significant step towards regulating generative AI technologies. – Reuters