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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reverses threat to cease European operations

Y Combinator President Sam Altman pauses during the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., Monday, February 25, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In just two days, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, appeared to flip his public stance on European AI regulation – first threatening to shut down operations in Europe if regulation crosses a line, and now reversing his claims by saying that company have “no plans to go.”

On Wednesday, Altman spoke to reporters in London and explained his concerns The FT reported on the European Union’s AI law, which is due to be finalized in 2024.

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“The details are really important,” Altman reportedly said. “We will try to comply with the regulations, but if we fail to do so, we will cease operations.”

Originally, the legislation – which may be the first of its kind in terms of AI governance – was designed for “high-risk” applications of AI, such as in medical devices, hiring and credit decisions. Now, during the generative AI boom, lawmakers have proposed expanded rules: makers of large machine learning systems and tools like large language models that power chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard and others would have to disclose AI-generated content and publish summaries of all copyrighted ones Information used as training data for their systems.

OpenAI attracted criticism for not disclosing methods or training data for GPT-4, one of the models behind ChatGPT, after its release.

“The current draft EU AI law would be over-regulatory, but we’ve heard it’s being withdrawn,” Altman said in London on Wednesday. according to Reuters. “They still talk about it.”

legislature said Reuters The draft was not up for debate and Dragos Tudorache, a Romanian MEP, said he saw “no watering down any time soon”.

Less than 48 hours after his initial comments about a possible suspension of operations, Altman said tweeted on a “very productive week of conversations in Europe on how best to regulate AI,” adding that the OpenAI team is “very excited to continue working here and of course have no plans to leave.”

The more recent proposal for the EU AI law will be negotiated between the European Commission and member states in the coming year, the FT reported.

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