On a world tour to reassure on AI, the creator of ChatGPT criticizes the EU

From Brazil to Nigeria, from Europe to Asia, Sam Altman, head of OpenAI and creator of ChatGPT, travels the world to reassure about artificial intelligence and prevent overly restrictive regulation, especially in Europe, from where he threatens to withdraw.

On Wednesday in London, the tenth leg of his tour of five continents, Sam Altman hardened his tone by warning that OpenAI could “stop operating” in the European Union if the future European regulations imposed too many constraints on it.

“We will try (to comply) but there are technical limits to what is possible,” he told the British press, explaining that he had “a lot” of criticism of the future EU AI Act. . This sparked the anger of European Commissioner Thierry Breton on Thursday.

“There is no point trying to blackmail people by claiming that by developing a clear framework, Europe is delaying the deployment of generative AI.

On the contrary ! With the + AI Pact + (which must precede a European regulation on AI, editor’s note) that I proposed, we aim to help companies in their preparation”, he tweeted, accompanying his message with an image bearing the words “is this a threat?”

Microsoft boss Brad Smith went one better, saying that the editors of the text would do well to listen to “those of us who may know more about the technical area” and see “what’s not likely to work”.

“I have 35 years of experience working with the European Union (…) reason will prevail” because “legislation is a matter of compromise” and “AI is so important for the future competitiveness of companies” , he launched.

The project also worries Google, which dispatched its managing director Sundar Pichai to Brussels this week. For the moment, faced with regulatory constraints, Google has given up deploying its AI Bard in the EU.

– “Messiah” –

Defend ChatGPT against overly restrictive regulations, while affirming that it must be supervised: this is the position of Sam Altman during his “OpenAI Tour”, which takes him to sixteen metropolises.

On the program, one-on-one meetings with heads of state – including Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday -, conferences and a detour to the Bilderberg group, the very discreet club of world leaders.

This tour illustrates the stature of global AI guru acquired by Altman, 38, since the dazzling success of his chatbot, which however triggered an avalanche of fears: misinformation, manipulation of elections, mass destruction of jobs even threat for Humanity.

A response from OpenAI is becoming urgent: many public figures have called for a pause in research, Italy has suspended ChatGPT for three weeks for siphoning personal data and the G7 decided on Saturday to create an AI task force.

The seduction campaign began on May 16 in front of US senators, with Sam Altman surprisingly launching, in essence, “regulate me”, and declaring that his nightmare was that AI would do “significant damage to the world”.

But he also assured that many jobs would be created and stressed that too much regulation would be harmful, because “if American industry slows down, China or someone else can progress faster”.

The next day, the young boss flew to Rio, then Lagos (Nigeria) and Lisbon, before Madrid, London, Paris, Warsaw, Munich and again Paris on Friday, at the Station F start-up campus. Next steps: Tel Aviv , Dubai, New Delhi, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, Tokyo and Melbourne.

“At Bilderberg, he was a little scary,” confided a participant, “but he also dangled the search for a country in which to set up his European headquarters”.

In Paris, Warsaw and Madrid, he was received with the respect of a Head of State by political leaders eager to seize this economic opportunity, but who also recalled the need to supervise it.

In Nigeria, he promised a blossoming of start-ups and tried to restore the image of OpenAI, which used low-cost African workers to train its model.

In Rio, he hoped that ChatGPT would generate “an improvement in people’s standard of living”.

The reception was less consensual in London, where a handful of protesters demonstrated. “We shouldn’t allow Silicon Valley multi-millionaires with a messiah complex to decide what we want,” one student said.

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