Update, April 19, 2023:
Bloomberg reports on an initial test of ChatGPT by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The chatbot is designed to simplify documents and make them more accessible.
Specifically, ChatGPT will help update online manuals for filling out applications for subsidies and public assistance. This is said to involve thousands of websites, where regulatory changes need to be made each year. A labor-intensive update that will now be outsourced to OpenAI’s chatbot.
This is the first AI test in the Japanese central government. For privacy and security reasons, ChatGPT only processes publicly available information.
Original article dated April 10, 2023:
OpenAI plans Japan expansion and negotiates with Europe
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman meets with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss ChatGPT in Japan. OpenAI plans to comply with European privacy laws.
Japan is considering the use of AI technology like OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. To that end, OpenAI chief Sam Altman visited Kishida and briefed him on the opportunities and risks of the technology, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said, according to Reuters.
Among the issues discussed were privacy and copyright. Two issues that also concern Europe and the rest of the world when it comes to AI.
“We hope to … build something great for Japanese people, make the models better for Japanese language and Japanese culture,” Altman said after the meeting.
According to Matsuno, the Japanese government will not consider using the technology until privacy and cybersecurity concerns are addressed.
Japan’s Digital Minister Taro Kono hopes to discuss AI and ChatGPT at a meeting of G7 digital ministers in late April to formulate a common message.
OpenAI vs. Europe: Altman promises Italian DPA remedies
In a dispute with Italy’s data protection authority over GDPR compliance, Altman spoke with officials in a video call and promised improvements. Exactly what those improvements might be is not known.
At the same time, OpenAI published a statement on its website describing how it will use better filters on private data in the future, not use private data to train AI, and – “where feasible” – delete that data from the system at the user’s request. It is not known when and to what extent these measures will be implemented.
OpenAI is likely interested in reaching an agreement with the Italian authority as soon as possible. Other European data protection authorities have followed Italy’s lead and are also investigating OpenAI. Italy could set a European privacy precedent regarding ChatGPT and large language models.
“Organizations developing or using generative AI should be considering their data protection obligations from the outset, taking a data protection by design and by default approach. This isn’t optional – if you’re processing personal data, it’s the law,” UK Data Protection Commissioner Stephen Almond wrote in a press release.