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OpenAI Reverses Decision to Leave Europe, Commits to Operating in the Region

Altman had been on a week-long tour across Europe, engaging in discussions with top politicians in several countries regarding the future of AI and the progress of OpenAI's ChatGPT.

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OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, has announced that the company has no plans to leave Europe, reversing a threat made earlier to withdraw from the region due to potential difficulties in complying with upcoming AI regulations. Altman had criticized the current draft of the EU AI Act, calling it “over-regulating.”

In a tweet on Friday, Altman expressed excitement to continue operating in Europe and clarified that OpenAI has no intentions of leaving. His previous threat had drawn criticism from EU industry chief Thierry Breton and other lawmakers.

Altman had been on a week-long tour across Europe, engaging in discussions with top politicians in several countries regarding the future of AI and the progress of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

OpenAI had faced criticism for not disclosing training data for its latest AI model, GPT-4, citing competitive concerns and safety implications. During the debate on the AI Act draft, EU lawmakers proposed new provisions that would require companies using generative tools like ChatGPT to disclose copyrighted material used in training their systems.

The added provisions aim to ensure transparency and build trust in AI systems and the companies developing them, according to Dragos Tudorache, a Romanian member of the European Parliament involved in drafting EU proposals.

EU parliamentarians have reached an agreement on the draft of the AI Act, and the final details of the bill will be discussed later this year by member states, the European Commission, and Parliament.

Altman’s announcement received a response from Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who emphasized the importance of standing firm against pressure from tech companies and ensuring clear obligations for transparency, security, and environmental standards.

OpenAI previously faced regulatory issues in Europe when its chatbot ChatGPT was temporarily shut down in Italy for alleged violations of European privacy rules. The app was later reinstated after OpenAI implemented new privacy measures.

German MEP Sergey Lagodinsky, another participant in the drafting of the AI Act, welcomed Altman’s statement, highlighting that the European Parliament is an ally in the development of AI and not an enemy.

OpenAI also announced on Thursday that it would grant $1 million to support experiments aiming to determine democratic approaches to governing AI systems, emphasizing the importance of inclusive decision-making regarding AI behavior.

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