Italy Bans ChatGPT, Citing a Privacy Breach

The story of technological advancement has traditionally been driven by the world’s governments struggling to keep up with the latest breakthroughs. In a move that has been described as everything from cautious to ludicrously alarmist, the government of Italy became the first Western legislative body to pass laws banning a specific manifestation of artificial intelligence—in this case, the popular chatbot ChatGPT.

Citing the lack of “legal basis underpinning the massive collection and processing of personal data in order to ‘train’ the algorithms on which the platform relies,” the Italian Data Protection Watchdog known as Garante ordered U.S. startup OpenAI to immediately cease processing any data from Italian users. In a statement announcing the ban, Garante also brought up the lack of age restrictions for ChatGPT use as well as a data breach by OpenAI that exposed other users’ questions to the chatbot.

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“We have got to be very careful that we don’t create a world where humans are somehow subservient to a greater machine future,” Sophie Hackford, John Deere’s global technology innovation advisor, said in a recent interview with CNBC on the ban. “Technology is here to serve us. It’s there to make our cancer diagnosis quicker or make humans not have to do jobs that we don’t want to do. We need to be thinking about it very carefully now, and we need to be acting on that now, from a regulation perspective.”