Given the pace of these technologies, it is important to keep an eye out for new developments that arise when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). It so happens that several things have recently taken place, events that are worth noting. My goal in this article is to discuss three things that have recently taken place that pertain to AI.
Firstly, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne met with his G7 counterparts in Tokyo on June 21 for the third meeting of the G7 Data Protection and Privacy Authorities Roundtable. The discussion centered on global privacy issues related to emerging technologies like Generative AI.
As a consequence, the G7 data protection and privacy authorities issued a joint statement, Statement on Generative AI (Statement).
Wait a minute: what is Generative AI? In a nutshell, Generative AI can be used to create new content such as text, images, or other media. Think large language model chatbots—you might have heard about ChatGPT, Bing Chat, Bard, and LLaMA. And think text-to-image artificial intelligence art systems—you might have heard about Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E.
Getting back to the Statement, it noted concerns that Generative AI could create risks for privacy and other fundamental human rights. Additionally, the regulators called on developers and providers of Generative AI technologies to embed privacy in the design, conception, operation, and management of these new products and services. They also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the rights and interests of individuals by ensuring a high level of data protection and privacy, while recognizing the economic and social value personal data has in today’s digital environment.
Secondly, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) urged the government to put guardrails around public sector use of AI technologies. Commissioner Patricia Kosseim clearly called on the Ontario government on June 7, 2023, to put in place a robust framework to achieve this goal.
In fact, she pointed out that, while government services have great potential to be improved using these technologies,
“if left unchecked, they can pose a serious threat to privacy and other human rights. These technologies often rely on large volumes of personal information, which must be lawfully collected, fairly and equitably representative, and properly protected.”
Thirdly, it is important to mention that the EU has been working diligently on the EU proposed Artificial Intelligence Act. In fact, the European Parliament has called it the “first regulation on artificial intelligence,” since the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI back in April 2021. The EU proposed Artificial Intelligence Act uses a risk-based approach such that the higher the risk level, the stricter/more onerous the regulation. And there are provisions that touch on Generative AI—for instance, there are transparency requirements. In particular, the requirements involving the disclosure that the content was generated by AI, the model to prevent it from generating illegal content, and providing a summary of copyrighted data that was used for training.
The first draft of the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act is currently going through the EU legislative process (this includes proposing amendments). What stage are they at? In June 2023, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) adopted a negotiating position, and the talks will now begin with EU countries in the Council on the final form of the law. The goal is to reach an agreement by the end of 2023.
Perhaps Canada is observing what the EU is doing to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. Interestingly, the EU’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act appears to be more comprehensive, detailed, and responsive to modern technology than the Canadian Bill C-27 regarding AI (the report stage regarding the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology was not reached). Maybe the EU’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act could be used as a model for Canada…
- The antitrust case against Google - November 17, 2023
- Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Responsible Development and Management of Advanced Generative AI Systems released - October 20, 2023
- Privacy Commissioner of Canada releases Annual Report - September 22, 2023