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Consumer groups call on US and EU to regulate AI that powers ChatGPT

A coalition of consumer advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe are calling on governments to quickly adopt regulations on generative AI to protect consumers from its potential harms.

A coalition of transatlantic consumer advocacy groups on Wednesday sent letters to their respective governments calling on the U.S. and European Union to develop regulations for generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that power tools like ChatGPT.

The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), a coalition of consumer groups in Europe and North America, wrote to express concerns that the development and deployment of generative AI is outpacing legislative and regulatory action which could "leave consumers unprotected in the meantime."

"Generative artificial intelligence systems are now widely used by consumers in the U.S. and beyond," the coalition wrote in its letter to President Biden. "Although these systems are presented as helpful, saving time, costs, and labor, we are worried about serious downsides and harms they may bring about."

The group noted that generative AI systems are "incentivized to suck up as much data as possible to train the AI models, leading to the inclusion of personal data that may be irremovable once the sets have been established and the tools trained."


The letter expressed concern that if content that’s biased, discriminatory, or misinformation is used to train an AI system it could become ingrained and disseminated more widely. 

It also raised alarm about large companies gaining monopolistic market share in the AI space and noted that running AI tools "requires enormous amounts of water and electricity, leading to heightened carbon emissions."


TACD called on the Biden administration to not only enforce existing laws that are applicable to the generative AI space but also to implement new regulations that bind companies and other entities developing AI tools to "adhere to transparent and reviewable obligations."

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) – a coalition of consumer organizations from 13 EU countries – also wrote to the EU on Tuesday following the release of a report by one of its member groups from Norway. 

The report raised alarm about a number of risks similar to those raised by the TACD, in addition to the potential use of AI to manipulate or mislead consumers, misuse their data to violate their privacy, automate human tasks and exploit labor.


The EU is in the process of considering legislation to enact AI regulations. This week the European Parliament approved a draft version of its AI Act that will be used as a negotiating framework with the European Commission and the Council of the EU to eventually develop final legislation. The process may take two years before a final compromise is reached and the AI rules take effect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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