EU lawmakers fear general purpose AI like ChatGPT has already outsmarted regulators

Rules proposed in EU AI Act are not enough to control 'very powerful AI'

Legislators from the European Parliament believe new laws are needed to regulate general purpose AI systems such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, as the technology is unpredictable and progressing faster than expected.

A group of 12 lawmakers are working on the European Union's AI Act, which they describe as "a risk-based legislative tool, meant to cover specific high-risk use-cases of AI." But as they worked on the bill they reached a "conviction that we also need a complementary set of preliminary rules for the development and deployment of powerful General Purpose AI Systems that can be easily adapted to a multitude of purposes."

The group therefore penned an open letter calling on European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden to organize a global AI summit at which representatives from around the world discuss and define governing principles aimed at controlling the development and deployment of AI models and ensure they are human-centric, safe, and trustworthy. 

"The recent advent of and widespread public access to powerful AI, alongside the exponential performance improvements over the last year of AI trained to generate complex content, has prompted us to pause and reflect on our work," the missive states.

The letter lands as regulators in the West increase efforts to manage AI. Italy, France, Canada, and Spain have launched investigations into OpenAI's ChatGPT due to data privacy concerns and Italy's Guarantor for the Protection of Personal Data has temporarily blocked access to the AI chatbot, and said it will lift the current ban if OpenAI complies with privacy rules aimed at protecting personal data and minors by the end of the April. 

The European lawmakers aren't alone in calling for action on AI. In late March the UK's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology released a whitepaper outlining a framework aimed at regulating AI without clamping down on investments and business. Last week, the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued a formal request for public comment to guide potential policies aimed at auditing AI systems.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also announced plans to pass bipartisan legislation to force companies to undergo independent assessment of AI products before they're released on the market. 

The EU AI Act is currently being debated by lawmakers; a parliamentary committee reportedly hopes to reach an agreement over the legislation by 26 April, according to Reuters. ®

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