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Google Bard, its ChatGPT rivalling AI assistant, expands to 180 countries. But it won’t be available in the EU or Canada. EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) might be the reason for the exclusion. Google’s I/O event showcased AI developments, Bard access expansion, and new language support, but EU countries were left out. OpenAI faced similar issues with Italy’s temporary ban on ChatGPT, requiring compliance with transparency and data processing regulations. By not releasing Bard in the EU, Google avoids potential legal issues.

Google’s Bard: A a new AI powerhouse

Google Bard, powered by the PaLM 2 AI model, is designed to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT in the rapidly growing market of generative AI chatbots. As part of Google’s push to integrate generative AI into its core products, such as Gmail and Google Photos, Bard signifies the company’s ambition to revolutionize its services and take on competitors like Microsoft’s integration of ChatGPT into Bing. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the development of PaLM 2, a lightweight version of the AI model compatible with smartphones, further demonstrating Google’s commitment to AI innovation.

AI Regulation in the EU

As Google expands Bard’s availability, the EU is moving closer to implementing stricter AI regulations. EU parliamentary committees recently agreed on new rules aimed at making AI systems safer and more ethical, while protecting individuals’ rights. The proposed legislation includes bans on certain types of AI, mandatory transparency, and liability rules for developers. This regulatory landscape may explain Google’s decision to exclude EU countries from Bard’s rollout.

GDPR and AI in the European market

GDPR, the EU’s data protection regulation, guarantees user rights to access, rectification, erasure, restriction of processing, data portability, and objection, as well as the right to reject automated decision-making, such as profiling. Companies risk fines if their AI training data prevents EU users from exercising these rights. With Bard’s chatbot collecting user information and potentially using data for training, the AI assistant might face difficulties complying with GDPR requirements.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT experience in Italy

OpenAI’s ChatGPT faced a temporary ban in Italy due to GDPR violations. The ban was lifted after OpenAI implemented privacy changes, clarified user data deletion, and complied with measures around transparency and data processing. By not releasing Bard in the EU, Google avoids similar regulatory hoops and potential legal issues that OpenAI encountered.

AI legislation and the future of AI in Europe

The proposed AI legislation in the EU aims to control the dangerous use of AI, prohibit subliminal or manipulative techniques, and protect fundamental rights, health, safety, the environment, democracy, and the rule of law. Companies deploying AI are required to ensure compliance with these principles. The legislation is awaiting a full EU parliament vote before final negotiations and implementation.

As the AI market continues to grow and the EU enacts stricter AI rules, it remains to be seen whether Google’s Bard will find a way to adapt and comply with European regulations.