According to Wired Penguins Outnumber Europeans in Using Google Bard
May 19, 2023
Google Bard, the new generative AI chatbot, has garnered attention for its exclusion of the European Union (EU) from its rollout. This move has surprised lawmakers and raised questions about the compatibility of generative AI technologies with existing EU privacy and online safety laws. While the reasons behind Google’s decision remain unclear, experts suggest that it may be an attempt to influence AI policy and regulations in the EU.
Additionally, other regulations like the proposed AI Act and the Digital Services Act (DSA) could be contributing factors. Curiously, Bard is available in select territories of European countries. Including remote regions like Bouvet Island, known for its penguin population.
Generative AI and Privacy Concerns
The EU’s lawmakers are currently negotiating new draft rules, including the AI Act, to govern artificial intelligence. Some experts speculate that Google’s exclusion of the EU from Bard’s rollout could be an attempt to influence policymakers and shape regulations before they are finalized. Facebook parent Meta has also chosen not to launch its generative AI chatbot, BlenderBot, in the EU. Indicating a broader power struggle between regulators and tech giants.
However, Bard’s availability in certain remote territories of European countries raises eyebrows. While it is unclear why Google Bard can be used in these regions, compliance with Europe’s data rules remains a consideration. The decision may be an oversight on Google’s part or a result of more lenient regulations in these areas.
Challenges for Large Language Models such as Google Bard
Google faces challenges in fully complying with the proposed AI Act. Which emphasizes transparency and traceability in AI systems. Large language models like Bard may find it difficult to meet these requirements due to their complex decision-making processes, making interpretation a challenge.
Additionally, if Bard has been trained on datasets containing errors or biases, it could pose issues under the AI Act. Recent research revealed that Bard could be prompted to deny climate change. It could also mischaracterize events, highlighting the potential risks associated with high-profile mistakes.
Implications for Google and the AI Act
Google’s cautious approach to Bard’s rollout in the EU stems from the potential consequences it may face in the future. Any public blunders associated with ChatGPT, Bard, or other generative AI systems could influence the negotiations surrounding the AI Act. Google is likely aware that measures addressing such blunders could be included in the final legislation, making careful implementation crucial.
Besides the AI Act, the Digital Services Act introduces new rules on online advertising. Google’s incorporation of Bard into its search setup may be delayed to avoid being subject to these regulations, particularly when it comes to integrating ads into the chatbot.
Privacy Concerns and GDPR Compliance
Europe’s privacy laws, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have posed challenges for new generative AI services. Questions arise about the legal basis of large datasets collected through indiscriminate scraping. As well as concerns over data collection, usage transparency, and child protection.
Italy’s data regulator temporarily banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT, citing GDPR violations. This prompted OpenAI to make changes to address privacy concerns. The Irish Data Protection Authority, is responsible for GDPR issues related to Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Apple. It may also be involved in scrutinizing the rollout of Bard in Europe.
Conclusion on Google Bard in Europe
Google’s exclusion of the European Union from Bard’s rollout has sparked speculation about its motives and the compatibility of generative AI technologies with existing and developing EU regulations. As negotiations for the AI Act and other regulations continue, Google is treading carefully to avoid potential risks and public blunders that could influence the final legislation.
Privacy concerns under the GDPR further complicate the rollout of generative AI services in Europe. The future of Bard’s availability in the EU remains uncertain. Its impact on the AI landscape in Europe is yet to be determined. Google and other tech giants navigate the delicate balance between innovation and regulatory compliance. It is evident that privacy, transparency, and accountability will continue to be key considerations in the deployment of generative AI technologies.