Japan Considers Government Adoption of ChatGPT-Like AI Technology, Wants Privacy Concerns Resolved

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Japan will consider government adoption of artificial intelligence technology such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot if privacy and cybersecurity concerns are resolved, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday.

The remarks from Matsuno, the top government spokesperson, came shortly before Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to Japan, where Altman said his company is “looking at opening an office”.

Asked about Italy’s temporary ban on ChatGPT – developed by Microsoft backed OpenAI – Matsuno told a news conference that Japan is aware of other countries’ actions.

Japan will continue evaluating possibilities of introducing AI to reduce government workers’ workload after assessing how to respond to concerns such as data breaches, Matsuno said.

Last week, it was reported that OpenAI was working to remedy concerns that led to an Italian ban on the chatbot. Garante said. Microsoft-backed OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy after the country’s data protection agency Garante last week temporarily restricted it and began a probe into a suspected breach of privacy rules.

The agency last week accused OpenAI of failing to check the age of ChatGPT users and the “absence of any legal basis that justifies the massive collection and storage of personal data”.

On Thursday it said it has no intention of putting a brake on developing AI but reiterated the importance of respecting rules aimed at protecting the personal data of Italian and European citizens.

In a video conference late on Wednesday attended by CEO Sam Altman, OpenAI pledged to be more transparent about the way it handles user data and verifies the user’s age, Garante said.

The company said it would send Garante a document regarding measures to respond to its requests on Thursday.

The ban by Italy has piqued the interest of other privacy regulators in Europe who are studying if harsher measures are needed for chatbots and whether to coordinate such actions.

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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