EU regulator blocks Google’s Bard chatbot launch in Europe over data protection concerns. Explore how this move highlights the tussle between tech giants and lawmakers.
- The European Union’s top data watchdog halts Google’s planned launch of its Bard chatbot over privacy concerns.
- The incident highlights the challenging race between tech companies rolling out AI products and lawmakers deciding on effective regulation.
- The exact nature of the concerns raised by the Irish Data Protection Commission remains unclear, leading to uncertainties about the future of Bard in the EU.
EU Puts a Pause: Google’s Bard Launch in Europe Blocked Over Privacy Worries
Google’s ambitious plans to launch its generative AI chatbot, Bard, in the European Union (EU) this week, came to an abrupt halt. Why? The EU’s top data watchdog, the Irish Data Protection Commission, flagged privacy concerns that Google will need to address promptly. But this isn’t an isolated incident. The clash between tech innovation and data privacy rules continues to be a tightrope walk for many AI companies.
The Google-Bard Saga: Unwrapping the Controversy
Bard, a conversational AI tool rolled out by Google in March, is now accessible in over 180 countries. So, why the speed bump in Europe? According to reports, the Irish Data Protection Commission, responsible for enforcing the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), wasn’t convinced about Google’s compliance with data protection rules. Despite Google’s attempts to engage with the commission, they found the company’s response inadequate, leading to a delay in Bard’s Europe launch.
Here’s a twist: The clash isn’t just about Google. This incident underscores an ongoing race. On one side, you have companies racing to roll out advanced AI products, and on the other, lawmakers grappling with decisions on how to regulate this technology effectively.
Not Alone in the Ring: Other AI Giants Facing the Heat
Interestingly, OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, another AI chatbot, has also been butting heads with EU regulators. OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, expressed concerns about stringent AI laws that might compel companies to disclose their training materials for large language models. He even suggested that OpenAI might exit the bloc if compliance gets too difficult. However, he later clarified that the company currently has no plans to leave Europe.
Google’s debut of its artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard in Europe will be delayed amid privacy concerns for regulators in the region, writes Clothilde Goujard for Politico.
— BlueMoonTrades (BMT) (@BlueMoonTrades) June 14, 2023
Bard’s Uncertain Future: What Lies Ahead?
As things stand, it’s unclear when Bard will be able to make its EU debut. The Irish Data Protection Commission’s deputy commissioner, Graham Doyle, stated that the launch won’t happen within the intended timeframe. The commission is now pressing Google for more information and detailed responses to their data protection concerns. Yet, European users can access similar large language model (LLM) technology, including ChatGPT and Bard (via a VPN with a US location set).
The nature of the specific concerns raised by the Irish commission regarding Bard remains vague, creating uncertainty about how the situation might unfold. Will Google be required to offer comparable privacy disclosures like OpenAI? Will there be additional user control provisions? We’ll have to wait and see.