The Global Race to Regulate Artificial Intelligence Tools

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A Snapshot of Current Efforts

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, governments worldwide are grappling with the complexities of regulating this technology. The rapid development of AI systems such as ChatGPT, backed by OpenAI and Microsoft, is complicating these efforts​1​. Let’s examine the approaches several nations and international bodies are taking to shape AI regulation.

Australia: Consulting and Considering

In Australia, the government is actively seeking input on potential regulations for AI. They are consulting with the country’s main science advisory body and mulling over the next steps​2​.

Britain: Drawing Up New Guidelines

In Britain, the Financial Conduct Authority is among several state regulators tasked with drafting new guidelines for AI. They are consulting with academic and legal institutions, including the Alan Turing Institute, to improve their understanding of the technology. Britain’s competition regulator began examining the effect of AI on consumers, businesses, and the economy in May 2023​3​.

China: Drafting Measures for Generative AI Services

China’s cyberspace regulator is planning new regulations, having unveiled draft measures in April to manage generative AI services. These measures include asking companies to submit security assessments to authorities before launching AI services to the public. Beijing has also expressed support for leading enterprises to build AI models that can challenge ChatGPT​4​.

European Union: Working on Comprehensive Laws

Key EU lawmakers agreed on tougher draft rules in May to rein in generative AI and proposed a ban on facial surveillance. The European Parliament is set to vote on the EU’s AI Act next month. This legislation could be the world’s first comprehensive laws governing AI. Alongside this, the European Data Protection Board set up a task force on ChatGPT in April, and the European Consumer Organisation has called for investigations into potential harm caused by AI chatbots​5​.

France and Italy: Investigating Possible Breaches

In France and Italy, the privacy watchdogs are investigating complaints about ChatGPT. In Italy, the data protection authority has plans to review other AI platforms and hire AI experts​6​​7​.

G7: Promoting Governance of AI

G7 leaders meeting in Japan have acknowledged the need for AI governance and agreed to have ministers discuss the technology and report results by the end of 2023. The G7 nations are advocating for risk-based regulation on AI​8​.

United States: Formulating Policies on AI

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission’s chief emphasized the agency’s commitment to using existing laws to keep in check some of the dangers of AI. A bill was introduced in April that would create a task force to look at US policies on AI, and identify how best to reduce threats to privacy, civil liberties, and due process. The Biden administration has also sought public comments on potential accountability measures for AI systems​9​.

The Intersection of AI and Copyright Law

An important aspect of AI regulation is its intersection with copyright law. Generative AI systems are trained on large datasets, which can include works protected under US copyright law. This raises the potential for outputs from generative AI tools to infringe on the copyrights of these underlying works​10​.

For example, if someone prompted a generative AI tool to use the characters and themes from the first seven Harry Potter novels to write an eighth novel in the series, the resulting work would almost certainly be considered a derivative work under the Copyright Act and constitute infringement​11​.

Mitigating the Risk of Copyright Infringement

Businesses that use generative AI tools can take steps to mitigate the risk of copyright infringement. These steps include:

  1. Obtaining a license or a representation and warranty from the provider of the generative AI tool. This should ensure that the source works on which the tool is trained are licensed, and that the license extends to the user.
  2. Running a source code audit program to analyze any code created using generative AI tools. This can help determine whether the code is similar to any other code, open source or otherwise. If it is, steps can be taken to comply with the relevant open source license or remove the code. Importantly, running a source code audit program can itself be evidence against a claim of willfulness in a copyright action.
  3. Conducting due diligence on the provider of the generative AI tool to understand what source materials it uses. Some generative AI tools may give users a degree of choice in determining what training materials are included when they use the tool​1​.

As the development of AI progresses, businesses and governments alike will need to continue evolving their approaches to regulation and risk mitigation to keep pace with the technology. The global race to regulate AI tools is undoubtedly a complex and ongoing effort.

Conclusion: A Continuous Journey Towards Effective AI Regulation

In the face of rapid technological advancement, nations around the world are making significant strides in an attempt to keep pace with the evolving landscape of AI. From seeking input on proposed regulations to drafting comprehensive laws, governments are taking various approaches to ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI.

At the same time, the intersection of AI and copyright law presents a new frontier of challenges. This is particularly relevant for businesses using AI tools that might inadvertently infringe on copyrights. Mitigating such risks will be a crucial aspect of working with AI moving forward.

As we venture further into the age of AI, there’s a clear understanding that crafting effective and comprehensive AI regulations is not a sprint but a marathon. It requires continuous effort, international cooperation, and a commitment to balancing innovation with ethical considerations and the protection of individual rights.

The race to regulate AI is well and truly on. While the path to effective regulation is complex, the stakes are high, and the benefits of getting it right are enormous. This is not just about technology, but about shaping a future where AI is used responsibly for the benefit of all.

The journey towards effective AI regulation is a continuous one, requiring us to learn, adapt, and grow with the technology. Let’s embrace this challenge and work towards a future where AI is a tool for positive change, rather than a source of concern.

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