OpenAI, the renowned creator of the highly acclaimed ChatGPT bot, is embroiled in a contentious dispute with the European Union after its CEO, Sam Altman, suggested that the implementation of new regulations could potentially lead the company to withdraw from the bloc. This evoked the ire of EU industry commissioner Thierry Breton, who promptly accused Altman of resorting to “blackmail” tactics, AFP reported on Thursday, May 25th.
Altman, who is currently engaged in a global tour aimed at fostering relationships with influential figures and policymakers, made the ominous remarks during a press conference in London. According to the CEO, if Brussels were to adopt its controversial AI Act as it stands now—a regulation meant to shield the public and the markets from the technology’s harmful effects—OpenAI could potentially “cease operating” in Europe.
Breton took to Twitter to express his disdain and categorically condemned the use of what he branded “blackmail” as a means to impede the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework. “There is no point in attempting blackmail—claiming that by crafting a clear framework, Europe is holding up the rollout of generative AI,” the commissioner tweeted, adding that the EU is there to “assist” all the companies concerned in getting up to speed with the new norms.