Is ChatGPT About to Run into Legal Trouble?

Posted by admin at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2023


AI seems to be in the headlines multiple times a week due to concerns over everything from data protection to the downfall of humanity, and everything in between. Despite the many controversies, Artificial Intelligence certainly has some plus points.

Organisational tools like MagicToDo and the accompanying Compiler, Formalizer and other features in make breaking tasks down and sprucing up the wording of an email a doddle. ChatGPT is great for research tasks where you want to avoid getting sucked into a day-long rabbit hole session; ask the bot questions and it will present the information as if you were having a conversation. This format makes researching new topics more accessible than having to pull information out of long articles and Wikipedia entries when you just want a few specific facts or angles.

These tools come with risks and downsides – Google has already said it will not look favourably on sites which use content solely generated by AI, and students have already found themselves in the bad books after turning in AI generated essays. One student should really have proofread an English assignment as his copy/pasted AI generation started with “I'm sorry, but as I am an AI language model I am not able to complete this assignment. However, I can provide you with some guidance...”.

EU legislators are now looking at the GDPR implications of these chat tools, as with no EU base they are not compliant with these safeguards and may be acting illegally when it comes to collecting, storing and using data. Italy has banned OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, from operating there and other European countries are watching and learning, potentially also taking the same action.

OpenAI is likely to have to follow in the footsteps of Google and TikTok, both of whom have set up headquarters in the EU to avoid bans and fines mounting up. This also means their operations in the EU must abide by GDPR laws.

A data breach in March spurred many people to think about the implications of chatbots saving and storing the text of billions of conversations, some with personally identifiable or financial information in them, it soon becomes clear how this could lead to huge breaches of privacy if that data fell into the wrong hands.

There is also a huge moral and ethical consideration; a young person in Belgium recently took their own life after a series of conversations with a chatbot, and the issue of Artificial Intelligence posing a threat to humanity is not a new concept. There are fears that AI could surpass humans in terms of intelligence and be impossible to control, potentially wiping out civilisation as it assumes control of industries and infrastructure just like the Terminator movies portray. It should be mentioned that even people involved in creating AI are warning of the risks with some even resigning over the issue.

Perhaps ChatGPT will soon be able to represent itself at any legal hearings brought against it, wherein lies another ethical issue. We think it's an exciting and valuable tool in many applications, but we must be aware of the risks posed by quasi-sentient machine learning tools.

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