OpenAI Reverses Decision to Leave Europe, Commits to Operating in the Region
OpenAI, the company behind the widely used AI platform ChatGPT, has announced that it has no plans to leave Europe, according to CEO Sam Altman. The statement by Altman on Friday marks a reversal from the threat made earlier in the week, signaling a commitment to continue operating in the European region.
Altman took to Twitter to express OpenAI's intentions, stating, "We are excited to continue to operate here and of course have no plans to leave." This statement comes in contrast to his remarks to journalists on Wednesday, where he raised concerns about the European Union's proposed AI Act potentially overregulating platforms like OpenAI.
very productive week of conversations in europe about how to best regulate AI! we are excited to continue to operate here and of course have no plans to leave.— Sam Altman (@sama) May 26, 2023
Altman had expressed unease with the current draft of the EU AI Act, but he mentioned that he had heard discussions about potential revisions to the regulation. He stated, "The current draft of the EU AI Act would be overregulating, but we have heard it's going to get pulled back. They are still talking about it."
Earlier in the week, Altman's remarks about OpenAI potentially ceasing operations in Europe if it could not comply with the regulations drew strong responses from European authorities. European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton emphasized that Europe's AI rules were not up for negotiation and criticized speculative threats.
There is no point in attempting blackmail — claiming that by crafting a clear framework, Europe is holding up the rollout of generative #AI.— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) May 25, 2023
To the contrary!
With the “AI Pact” I proposed, we aim to assist companies in their preparation to EU AI Act 🇪🇺https://t.co/gHsV69L81S pic.twitter.com/N5r83yWtIe
Breton clarified that the AI rules in place were designed to safeguard the security and well-being of European citizens and were not open for bargaining. He highlighted Europe's proactive approach in designing a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI that addresses risks related to fundamental rights and safety while promoting innovation.
Microsoft's President Brad Smith, speaking at an event in the United States on Thursday, expressed optimism that reason would prevail and a suitable compromise would be reached with the final AI Act. Smith believed that the Act would strike a balance between addressing concerns and enabling innovation in trustworthy AI.
As OpenAI reverses its decision to leave Europe, the focus now shifts to the ongoing discussions and revisions surrounding the EU AI Act. The outcome will shape the regulatory landscape for AI in Europe and have implications for the operations of AI companies in the region.