As concerns about the possible risks of unrestricted AI development grow, a dozen of European Union lawmakers claim they are considering legislative restrictions on “General Purpose AI systems” such as the Microsoft-backed OpenAI ChatGPT system and others. The members of parliament also urged for global cooperation in an open letter released on Monday.
Industry experts have cautioned that if adequate measures are not taken, AI technologies might grow dangerously strong. In the letter, the lawmakers declared their commitment to providing “a set of rules specifically tailored to foundation models, with the goal of directing the development of very powerful artificial intelligence in a direction that is human-centric, safe, and trustworthy.”
They also added in the letter that, “With the rapid evolution of powerful AI, we see the need for significant political attention.” This was the response after a number of industry experts pleaded with Europe to broaden its AI regulations, claiming that doing so would be mistaken if general purpose AI, or GPAI, were left out.
The lawmakers agree with another recent letter written by the Future of Life Institute which was signed by numerous people, including billionaire Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang. These technology leaders demanded in the letter a minimum six-month moratorium on developing AI systems that are stronger than OpenAI’s most current big language model, GPT-4.
Reflecting on it, the lawmakers stated, “We share some of the concerns expressed in this letter, even while we disagree with some of its more alarmist statements.” They also added that, “We are nevertheless in agreement with the letter’s core message: with the rapid evolution of powerful AI, we see the need for significant political attention.”
The objective assigned to the legislators is to revise the Artificial Intelligence Act, a piece of long-standing proposed EU legislation that has been in preparation for more than two years. After that, the proposal would be put to a vote in the European Parliament in May, and if it passed, it would then go through talks with the European Council, which had already created its own draft. While the stated justifications for these restrictions are based on concerns about privacy, other recent developments, like the prohibitions made by Italy reveal a general political attitude they are attempting to assert against such developments.