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OpenAI may open office in Japan as the country eyes AI adoption

On March 20, Italy’s data protection authority imposed a temporary limitation on the processing of Italian users’ data by OpenAI, following a data breach that affected ChatGPT users’ conversations and payment information.

OpenAI ChatGPT Enterprise

Following a meeting between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the CEO said on Monday that he is considering opening an office and expanding services in Japan. During the meeting between Altman and PM Kishida, both discussed the technological progress, merits, and risks associated with AI, including privacy and copyright infringement.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stated that the country may consider adopting AI technology such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot if privacy and cybersecurity concerns are resolved. Matsuno acknowledged Italy’s temporary ban on ChatGPT due to privacy concerns but emphasized that Japan is closely monitoring actions taken by other countries. The country will continue exploring the potential of AI technology to reduce the workload of government workers while addressing issues like data breaches.

On March 20, Italy’s data protection authority imposed a temporary limitation on the processing of Italian users’ data by OpenAI, following a data breach that affected ChatGPT users’ conversations and payment information. After Italy’s restriction of ChatGPT, OpenAI presented measures to remedy privacy breach concerns to the Italian regulator last week. This move prompted other European countries to investigate similar measures.

This move came after a group of AI experts and industry executives, including Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter and OpenAI co-founder, penned an open letter to the US Federal Trade Commission calling for a six-month halt in the development of AI systems more powerful than OpenAI’s GPT-4. The letter, signed by over 1,000 individuals, urged for a pause on advanced AI development until shared safety protocols are established and independently audited.

Sam Altman expressed interest in opening an office and expanding OpenAI’s services in Japan. “We hope to … build something great for the Japanese people, make the models better for the Japanese language and Japanese culture,” Altman said after his meeting with Kishida.

At another meeting at Japan’s ruling party headquarters, Altman emphasized Japan’s role as a geopolitical power in adopting AI and rule-making. Matsuno highlighted Japan’s commitment to evaluating the possibilities of incorporating AI into government work while addressing privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Cabinet minister Taro Kono, responsible for Japan’s digital transformation, expressed optimism that AI technologies would “greatly contribute” to the government’s workstyle reforms. However, he also mentioned that it would be challenging to introduce ChatGPT in public offices soon due to issues such as machine-generated falsehoods.

Kono expressed his desire for the Group of Seven Digital Ministers’ meeting, scheduled for April 29-30 in Japan, to discuss AI technologies, including ChatGPT, and issue a “united message from the G7”. The Japanese government’s willingness to consider the adoption of ChatGPT reflects the growing influence of AI technology in various sectors, while also emphasizing the need to address privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

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