Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, stops by during the New Work Summit on Monday, February 25, 2019 in Half Moon Bay, California, USA.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
In just two days, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman appeared to do a 180 on his public views on European AI regulation — first threatening to shut down operations in Europe if regulation crossed the line, then reversing his claims, saying the firm has “he has no plans to leave.”
On Wednesday, Altman spoke to reporters in London and described his concerns on the European Union’s artificial intelligence law, due to be finalized in 2024, the FT reported.
“The details really matter,” Altman is reported to have said. “We will try to comply, but if we don’t, we will cease to operate.”
Initially, the legislation – which could be the first of its kind to govern AI – was designed for “high-risk” uses of AI, such as medical equipment, hiring and lending decisions. Now, amid the generative AI boom, lawmakers have proposed expanded rules: Builders of large systems and machine learning tools, such as large language models, the kind that would power chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and others, to uncover AI-generated content and publish summaries of all copyrighted information used as training data for their systems.
OpenAI drew criticism for not releasing the methods or training data for GPT-4, one of the models behind ChatGPT, after its release.
“The current EU AI bill would be too regulatory, but we’ve heard it’s going to be withdrawn,” Altman said in London on Wednesday. according to Reuters. “He keeps talking about it.
Legislators he told Reuters the proposal was not up for debate and Dragos Tudorache, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, said he “doesn’t see any dilution happening in the foreseeable future”.
Less than 48 hours after his initial remarks about the possible end of operations, Altman he tweeted about “a very productive week of conversations in Europe about how best to regulate AI”, adding that the OpenAI team is “excited to continue working here and of course have no plans to leave”.
The latest draft EU law on artificial intelligence will be discussed between the European Commission and member states over the next year, the FT reported.