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How Nations Are Losing a Global Race to Tackle A.I.'s Harms

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Without united action soon, some officials warned, governments may get further left behind by the A.I. makers and their breakthroughs.

Lawmakers and regulators in Brussels, in Washington, and elsewhere are losing a battle to regulate A.I. and are racing to catch up.

Credit: Hokyoung Kim

When European Union leaders introduced a 125-page draft law to regulate artificial intelligence in April 2021, they hailed it as a global model for handling the technology.

E.U. lawmakers had gotten input from thousands of experts for three years about A.I., when the topic was not even on the table in other countries. The result was a "landmark" policy that was "future proof," declared Margrethe Vestager, the head of digital policy for the 27-nation bloc.

Then came ChatGPT.

The eerily humanlike chatbot, which went viral last year by generating its own answers to prompts, blindsided E.U. policymakers. The type of A.I. that powered ChatGPT was not mentioned in the draft law and was not a major focus of discussions about the policy. Lawmakers and their aides peppered one another with calls and texts to address the gap, as tech executives warned that overly aggressive regulations could put Europe at an economic disadvantage.

From The New York Times
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