Bard AI's Curious Absence in the EU: Google's Strategy or Regulatory Hurdles?

Emma Jones


Bard AI's Curious Absence in the EU: Google's Strategy or Regulatory Hurdles?

As Google's AI assistant Bard enjoys widespread availability in 180 countries, its absence in the European Union and Canada raises questions and concerns. Two months since its launch, Google remains tight-lipped about the reasons behind the AI chatbot's regional exclusion. Speculation suggests that the company might be at odds with certain upcoming regulations or even potentially violating existing GDPR rules.

The European Union's AI Act, currently working its way through the European Parliament, aims to promote transparency and safety in AI development. Experts believe Google might be silently protesting the act's details or anticipating its ramifications on its AI tool, Bard. Alongside this, Bard may not fully comply with the EU's existing internet safety laws, leaving its legal basis under the GDPR open to scrutiny.

Should the AI Act pass in mid-June, it would introduce further restrictions on AI tools that could be misused for manipulation or exploitation. The act’s proposal outlines considerations of specific human rights, such as human dignity, personal data protection, and the right to an effective remedy, while assessing an AI as "high-risk." Most current AI tools, including Bard, could potentially breach at least one of these rights, leading to Google's apprehension about the AI Act and Bard's European launch.

Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Canada are also keeping a close eye on ChatGPT, Google's AI-based tool, due to similar privacy concerns. Canada’s upcoming AIDA proposal, set to come into force in 2025, emphasizes transparency in AI development. Google's AI principles, while broadly outlining the company's commitment to privacy, contain ambiguous language that leaves room for interpretation and possibly hints at a reluctance to fully align with EU and Canadian law.

In conclusion, Google's silence on Bard's exclusion from the European and Canadian markets could be a strategic move to make a statement about upcoming regulations or simply an attempt to avoid legal complications. Until Google provides an official explanation, users in these regions will be left pondering if and when they'll gain access to Bard and what this means for AI development and regulations going forward.