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EU consumer watch group urges regulators to investigate AI platforms

A coalition of European Union (EU) consumer protection groups have raised the alarm over the risks posed by generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGLBard.

The Associated Press reported that the 13 protection groups across the EU penned strongly worded letters to their local regulatory agencies to express concerns over the use of AI platforms.

Since the last quarter of 2022, AI platforms have grown in leaps and bounds, with ChatGPT gaining over 100 million users in less than 30 days. The staggering pace of adoption has seemingly caught global regulators by surprise, a fact underscored by the absence of sufficient regulation to guide their usage.

Given the lack of AI regulation, the 13 consumer protection groups have warned regulators over the impending dangers to data protection, competition, and safety of AI platforms. The groups cited a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council that shed light on AI misuse in spreading fake news, wrong medical diagnoses, and the illicit use of personal data.

Working in concert with consumer protection groups across the Atlantic, a similar letter has been addressed to U.S. President Joe Biden, urging him to take executive action on the nefarious use of AI.

The EU is inching toward launching the first-of-its-kind AI regulation, with member countries ironing out last-minute details. However, the rules are not expected to be operational until 2025, stoking embers of worry for consumer protection groups in the region.

The incoming regulations propose an outright ban on AI systems relying on real-time remote biometric identification systems while calling for the classification of AI platforms based on risks. The rules are pushing for clear labeling of AI-generated content in addition to the requirement that all new AI platforms must participate in a mandatory regulatory sandbox before launch.

Halt AI development for six months

Amid the buzz, a group of researchers and tech founders have signed a letter seeking for all AI development to be paused for six months to allow regulators to recalibrate their bearings.

The coalition, which included Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, noted that the development of AI posed “profound risks to society and humanity.” In their call, regulators were urged to work together to mitigate the risks from spreading to several industries like digital currencies, media, finance, and health.

“This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium,” the coalition said.

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