By Olivia ChenTechnology reporter

In a recent development, Japan’s privacy watchdog has issued a warning to OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed startup responsible for the widely-used ChatGPT chatbot, urging them not to collect sensitive data without individuals’ explicit consent. The Personal Information Protection Commission emphasized the need for OpenAI to minimize the collection of sensitive data for machine learning purposes. It further stated that it would consider taking additional actions if concerns persist.

Governments worldwide are currently racing to establish regulations to govern the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems capable of creating text and images. Advocates of these technologies compare their impact to that of the internet’s arrival. Although Japan has been relatively slow to embrace certain technology trends, it is now demonstrating a stronger incentive to keep pace with advancements in AI and robotics as it grapples with a shrinking population and strives to maintain productivity.

The privacy watchdog acknowledged the importance of striking a balance between privacy concerns and the potential benefits offered by generative AI, including the ability to foster innovation and address critical issues like climate change.

According to Similarweb, Japan ranks as the third-largest source of traffic to OpenAI’s website, underscoring the country’s interest in the startup’s offerings. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in April, signaling the company’s aspirations for expansion in Japan. This meeting took place ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders summit, during which Kishida led discussions on the regulation of AI.

Meanwhile, the European Union, renowned for its leadership in tech regulation, is actively developing what could become the first comprehensive set of rules governing AI.

Altman recently confirmed that OpenAI has no intentions of leaving Europe, despite earlier indications that the startup might consider such a move if complying with EU regulations proved overly challenging.


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