Factbox-Governments race to regulate AI tools

FILE PHOTO: An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai

(Reuters) - Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT are complicating governments' efforts to agree laws governing the use of the technology.

Here are the latest steps national and international governing bodies are taking to regulate AI tools:


* Planning regulations

Australia will make search engines, such as Alphabet's Google and Microsoft's Bing, draft new codes to prevent the sharing of child sexual abuse material created by AI and the production of deepfake versions of the same material, the country's internet regulator said on Sept. 8.


* Planning regulations

The Financial Conduct Authority, one of several state regulators that has been tasked with drawing up new guidelines covering AI, is consulting with the Alan Turing Institute and other legal and academic institutions to improve its understanding of the technology, a spokesperson told Reuters.

Britain's competition regulator said in May it would start examining the impact of AI on consumers, businesses and the economy and whether new controls were needed.


* Implemented temporary regulations

China has issued a set of temporary measures effective from Aug. 15 to manage the generative AI industry, requiring service providers to submit security assessments and receive clearance before releasing mass-market AI products.

Following government approvals, four Chinese tech firms, including Baidu Inc and SenseTime Group, launched their AI chatbots to the public on Aug. 31.


* Planning regulations

EU lawmakers agreed in June to changes in a draft of the bloc's AI Act. The lawmakers will now have to thrash out details with EU countries before the draft rules become legislation.

The biggest issue is expected to be facial recognition and biometric surveillance where some lawmakers want a total ban while EU countries want an exception for national security, defence and military purposes.


* Investigating possible breaches

France's privacy watchdog CNIL said in April it was investigating several complaints about ChatGPT after the chatbot was temporarily banned in Italy over a suspected breach of privacy rules.

France's National Assembly approved in March the use of AI video surveillance during the 2024 Paris Olympics, overlooking warnings from civil rights groups.


* Seeking input on regulations

Group of Seven (G7) leaders meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, acknowledged in May the need for governance of AI and immersive technologies and agreed to have ministers discuss the technology as the "Hiroshima AI process" and report results by the end of 2023.

G7 nations should adopt "risk-based" regulation on AI, G7 digital ministers said after a meeting in April.


* Seeking input on regulations

Generative AI needs to be regulated, but governing bodies must work out how to do so properly before rushing into prohibitions that "really aren't going to stand up", Ireland's data protection chief said in April.


* Seeking input on regulations

Israel has been working on AI regulations "for the last 18 months or so" to achieve the right balance between innovation and the preservation of human rights and civic safeguards, Ziv Katzir, director of national AI planning at the Israel Innovation Authority, said in June.

Israel published a 115-page draft AI policy in October and is collating public feedback ahead of a final decision.


* Investigating possible breaches

Italy's data protection authority plans to review other artificial intelligence platforms and hire AI experts, a top official said in May.

ChatGPT became available again to users in Italy in April after being temporarily banned over concerns by the national data protection authority in March.


* Investigating possible breaches

Japan expects to introduce by the end of 2023 regulations that are likely closer to the U.S. attitude than the stringent ones planned in the EU, an official close to deliberations said in July, as it looks to the technology to boost economic growth and make it a leader in advanced chips.

The country's privacy watchdog said in June it had warned OpenAI not to collect sensitive data without people's permission and to minimise the sensitive data it collects.


* Investigating possible breaches

Spain's data protection agency said in April it was launching a preliminary investigation into potential data breaches by ChatGPT. It has also asked the EU's privacy watchdog to evaluate privacy concerns surrounding ChatGPT.


* Planning regulations

The U.N. Security Council held its first formal discussion on AI in New York in July. The council addressed both military and non-military applications of AI, which "could have very serious consequences for global peace and security", U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Guterres in June backed a proposal by some AI executives for the creation of an AI watchdog like the International Atomic Energy Agency, but noted that "only member states can create it, not the Secretariat of the United Nations".

The U.N. Secretary-General has also announced plans to start work by the end of the year on a high-level AI advisory body to regularly review AI governance arrangements and offer recommendations.


* Seeking input on regulations

Congress will hold three hearings on AI on Sept. 11, 12, and 13 as it works on legislation to mitigate the dangers of the emerging technology. Talks include a hearing with Microsoft President Brad Smith and Nvidia chief scientist William Daly, an AI forum including Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and meetings of various House and Senate subcommittees.

Washington D.C. district Judge Beryl Howell ruled on Aug. 21 that a work of art created by AI without any human input cannot be copyrighted under U.S. law, affirming the Copyright Office's rejection of an application filed by computer scientist Stephen Thaler on behalf of his DABUS system.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened in July an expansive investigation into OpenAI on claims that it has run afoul of consumer protection laws by putting personal reputations and data at risk.

Generative AI raises competition concerns and is a focus of the FTC's Bureau of Technology along with its Office of Technology, the agency said in a blog post in June.

Senator Michael Bennet wrote to leading tech firms in June to urge them to label AI-generated content and limit the spread of material aimed at misleading users. He had introduced a bill in April to create a task force to look at U.S. policies on AI.

(Compiled by Alessandro Parodi and Amir Orusov in Gdansk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Mark Potter, Milla Nissi and Louise Heavens)