Germany is considering banning the use of the OpenAI natural language chatbot ChatGPT in its country over concerns about its potential misuse and impact on society. If those plans move ahead, Germany will follow Italy, which banned ChatGPT at the end of March.
ChatGPT is a chatbot that can generate human-like text responses to a given prompt. It can answer questions, converse on a variety of topics, and generate creative writing pieces. It is based on a deep learning architecture which enables it to learn patterns in language and generate text that is coherent and human-like.
However, ChatGPT also has some limitations and risks. In a blog post, OpenAI discussing some of the problems that can arise when using the chatbot:
“It sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers… It is sensitive to tweaks to the input phrasing or attempting the same prompt multiple times.”
Moreover, it can be used for malicious purposes, such as spreading misinformation, impersonating others, or generating harmful content. According to a report by Handelsblatt, Germany's Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is drafting a law that would prohibit the use of ChatGPT in Germany, unless it is explicitly authorized by the government.
The law would also require ChatGPT to disclose to users they are interacting with an AI system and not a human.
Italy Becomes the First to Ban ChatGPT in Europe
The Italian Data Protection Authority has ordered OpenAI to stop providing the chatbot in the country.
In its decisions, the data regulator argues ChatGPT does not comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires data controllers to inform users about how their data is processed and to obtain their consent. The regulator claims that ChatGPT does not provide clear and transparent information about the purpose, scope, and consequences of its data processing.
The authority has told OpenAI is must pause ChatGPT in Italy within 15 days. Moreover, the org must also delete all personal information of Italian users within 30 days. Failure to comply with these orders could result in Italian authorities handing OpenAI a 20 million euros fine or 4% of its annual turnover.
ChatGPT is currently available for free during the research preview period at chat.openai.com. However, it is unclear whether it will remain accessible in Germany or other countries that may follow suit in banning it.
Microsoft Does not Share the Same Concerns
While countries and the general public are becoming increasingly concerned about ChatGPT, Microsoft is unfazed. The company has integrated the same GPT-4 AI engine that powers ChatGPT across its ecosystem.
Microsoft has gone big on GPT-4, leveraging its multi-billion-dollar partnership with OpenAI. The language model underpins the company's Bing Chat AI search and its multimodal capabilities also power the new Bing Image Creator. Furthermore, Microsoft has brought deep GPT-4 integrations to Azure OpenAI Service and the new Microsoft 365 Copilot across Office apps.
There is a lot of misinformation about ChatGPT, including reports and opinions that suggest it is an Artificial Generative Intelligence (AGI). Think The Matrix and you have an idea of the worst case scenario of AGI. Many people are pushing an agenda that ChatGPT – and by extension Bing Chat – are the start of the evolution to AGI.
That is not the case and ChatGPT is not AGI. However, that does not mean there are not legitimate concerns to be had about the chatbot. It is likely other countries will be monitoring the AI closely and may take similar decisions to Italy.
Tip of the day: Windows Update downloads can often be frustrating because they are several gigabytes in size and can slow down your internet connection. That means your device may work with reduced performance while the update is downloading. In our guide, we show you how to limit bandwidth for Windows Update downloads, so they won't bother you again.