Several months after its launch in the United States, the Google Bard natural language generation chatbot has finally landed in the EU. Bard now supports more than 40 languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Greek and more.
Bard's launch in the EU required Google to adhere to rules within the bloc. Google dealt with regulatory and legal challenges from the European Commission and other authorities, who were concerned about Bard's potential impact on data protection, privacy, competition and intellectual property rights. Google had to demonstrate that Bard complied with the EU's strict rules and standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Google also had to make some changes to Bard's functionality and features to address some of the issues raised by the regulators. For example, Google had to ensure that Bard did not generate content that violated the EU's laws or values, such as hate speech, defamation or misinformation. Google also had to provide users with more transparency and control over how Bard used their data and how they could opt out or delete their data if they wished.
Bard is a breakthrough in natural language generation and a testament to Google's innovation and vision. It is expected to revolutionize the way people communicate, create and consume content. Bard is not only a smart assistant, but also a creative partner that can inspire and empower users to express themselves in new and exciting ways.
Navigating Regulators or Working with them?
Google still has to deal with the bloc's privacy laws on generative AI, which are still unclear and evolving. European Lawmakers are still working on the AI Act, an all-encompassing legislation that will monitor, regulate, and oversee AI development across Europe.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) acts as Google's main privacy regulator in the EU. According to the watchdog, it will maintain a close relationship with Google following the launch of Bard. That includes Google committing to a review and report that will be given to the DPC by mid October.
While there is no formal investigation in the pipeline, Bard will face regulatory scrutiny in the coming months. In fact, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) already has a taskforce in place to investigate how AI chatbots function, handle data, and comply with the region's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. While the taskforce was formed to oversee OpenAI's ChatGPT, its parameters are now expanding to include other chatbots, including Bard.
“Google have made a number of changes in advance of [Bard's] launch, in particular increased transparency and changes to controls for users. We will be continuing our engagement with Google in relation to Bard post- launch and Google have agreed to carrying out a review and providing a report to the DPC after three months of Bard becoming operational in the EU,” said DPC deputy commissioner Graham Doyle, reported by TechCrunch.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law that protects the privacy and personal data of EU citizens. It requires companies to obtain consent from users before collecting and processing their data, and to provide them with the right to access, correct, delete, or transfer their data.
Bard, and other chatbots powered by large language models such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing Chat, rely on massive amounts of data to generate responses. Some of this data may contain personal or sensitive information that could violate the GDPR if not handled properly.