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Google's AI chatbot Bard

Google’s AI Chatbot Bard Faces EU Setback Amid Privacy Concerns

The anticipated arrival of Google’s AI chatbot Bard to European shores has been hindered, raising new queries about the tech giant’s approach to privacy.

Set for debut in Europe, Google had to slam the brakes on Bard’s rollout amidst unresolved privacy concerns.

This development follows its February launch in the US, during a wave of intrigue for competing services like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s generative AI being integrated into its Bing search engine.

The launch, however, wasn’t all smooth sailing, as one bot’s incorrect response reportedly resulted in a staggering $120 billion (10 per cent) nosedive in Alphabet’s market value.

It’s worth noting, though, that the company’s stocks have made a recovery since then.

The Uncertainty Within Google

Intriguingly, there’s a degree of unease within the walls of Google.

Some insiders worry that expansive language models and chatbots could overtake the corporation’s prized search business, leading to a detrimental shift away from the traditional search-engine-optimised content.

According to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, these concerns are not entirely without base, as AI models are touted to improve information processing efficiency.

However, after witnessing a New York lawyer reprimanded for citing non-existent cases generated by ChatGPT, the legal community has shown increased wariness about the reliability of AI technology.

Scepticism about Bard’s readiness for mainstream use has also been expressed within Google.

Regulatory Hurdles and Privacy Concerns

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), Google’s main supervisory authority under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, has put the Bard bot’s EU entry on hold.

“Google recently informed the DPC of its intention to launch Bard in the EU this week,” said Graham Doyle, Deputy Commissioner of the DPC.

He explained that the DPC hadn’t received a detailed briefing, the sight of a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), or any supporting documentation. As such, Bard’s launch in the EU has been postponed as the DPC awaits responses to raised data protection questions.

Privacy policies surrounding Bard have raised eyebrows previously.

In March, US-based Common Sense Media gave Bard a score of 75 out of 100, flagging potential concerns with its service’s privacy policy.

Conversely, Google views this delay as routine and reaffirms its dedication to making Bard more widely accessible post-concerns resolution.

A Google spokesperson highlighted,

“We said in May that we wanted to make Bard more widely available, including in the European Union, and that we would do so responsibly, after engagement with experts, regulators and policymakers.”

A Tougher Crowd Awaits

As Google finds itself hampered in its plans for Bard’s EU launch, time may prove to be a harsh taskmaster.

EU lawmakers recently approved rules intended to ensure AI safety, calling for transparency requirements, copyright assurances, and commitments not to generate illegal content.

Consequently, the road ahead for Bard in the EU seems challenging.

For now, Europeans will have to bide their time before they can interact with Bard. Whether Google can convince the regulators that Bard is ready for the European stage remains to be seen.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

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