Exclusive-AI rules ‘cannot be bargained’, EU’s Breton says after OpenAI CEO threat

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s artificial intelligence (AI) rules are not for negotiation, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Thursday, as he criticised OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s threat to quit the continent if it cannot comply with the legislation.

Altman’s comments at a conference a day earlier came as the European Union seeks to expand its AI rules to cover generative AI tools, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and require companies to disclose any copyrighted material used to develop their systems.

Breton said there was no point making speculative threats and claiming Europe was holding up the rollout of generative AI.

“Let’s be clear, our rules are put in place for the security and well-being of our citizens and this cannot be bargained,” Breton told Reuters.

“Europe has been ahead of the curve designing a solid and balanced regulatory framework for AI which tackles risks related to fundamental rights or safety, but also enables innovation for Europe to become a frontrunner in trustworthy AI,” he said.

EU lawmakers and EU countries are expected to thrash out the details of the European Commission’s draft AI rules in the coming months before they become legislation that may become the global standard for a technology currently led by the United States and China.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter)