Google’s revolutionary Bard chatbot finds itself entangled in a regulatory maze, with Canada left on the sidelines.
- Google’s Bard chatbot faces regulatory hurdles, leaving Canada alongside Russia and China without access.
- Bard’s expansion covers 230 countries, but Canada is noticeably excluded from the supported regions.
- Conflict arises over the Online News Act in Canada, involving revenue sharing and liability concerns for tech giants.
- The emergence of AI chatbots prompts ongoing discussions about privacy, data protection, and responsible innovation.
As the regulatory impasse between Google and the Liberal government unfolds, Canada now joins the exclusive club of countries—comprising Russia and China—that are unable to experience the capabilities of Google’s artificial intelligence-driven chatbot, Bard.
In a blog post released early on Thursday, Google sparked anticipation by announcing the expansion of Bard, its equivalent to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to an impressive 230 countries and territories. The move promised to bring the power of AI-driven conversations to a global audience.
However, as the list of supported regions emerged, Canada stood out as a glaring omission, joining the ranks of North Korea and Afghanistan in being denied access to Google’s pioneering chatbot technology.
Google’s Bard Chatbot Regulatory red tape
The EU’s cautious approach to AI regulation comes as no surprise. Privacy concerns have previously forced Google to delay Bard’s launch in the region.
However, recent progress indicates that the chatbot is now available in all EU countries, suggesting that Google has made efforts to address the regulatory requirements. On May 10, Google first made Bard available to the public, launching access in over 180 countries and territories.
Clash over Canadian Online News Act
In the case of Canada, the stage is set for a clash between Google and the Liberal government over the Online News Act. This legislation demands revenue sharing between tech giants and Canadian news publishers.
Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) have deemed the law unworkable, threatening to block news from their platforms. As the conflict intensifies, the exclusion of Canada from Bard’s availability seems to be a strategic move by Google, leveraging its influence to navigate the regulatory landscape.
On Monday, the Liberal government presented a comprehensive document that delves into the intricate details of implementing the bill’s regulations. This strategic move aims to address the apprehensions expressed by Meta and Google.
Notably, both companies have voiced concerns about the legislation’s potential consequences, emphasizing that it subjects them to unbounded liability and effectively mandates payment for online links.
To mitigate these concerns, the government has now proposed the establishment of a “financial threshold for contributions” based on the platforms’ estimated Canadian revenues, signaling a proactive approach to finding a middle ground between regulatory compliance and industry demands.
Paving the way for responsible innovation
AI-powered chatbots like Bard and ChatGPT utilize advanced artificial intelligence to engage users in natural conversations. They assist with various tasks, including writing, trip planning, and research paper production.
These AI technologies can also generate visuals and text, as highlighted by the buzz created by an AI-generated fake song involving Drake and the Weeknd in April.
The absence of Bard in Canada denies users in the region the chance to experience the full potential of Google’s AI-driven chatbot.
Regulatory obstacles have become a recurring theme for cutting-edge AI tools like Bard. Just last month, Italy made waves by banning ChatGPT, citing concerns over privacy and data collection.
Italian regulators expressed reservations that ChatGPT’s operations were not aligned with the strict guidelines laid out in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The rapid advancement of generative AI technology has alarmed experts and industry stakeholders, prompting calls for regulation and a moratorium on its usage. Google’s commitment to being a “helpful and engaged partner to regulators” signifies its dedication to responsible innovation.