The man behind popular artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT said his company OpenAI had no plans to leave Europe, after previous comments sparked criticism in the EU capital.

“Very productive week of conversations in Europe about how to best regulate AI! We are excited to continue to operate here and of course have no plans to leave,” Sam Altman tweeted Friday.

On Wednesday, Altman reportedly said OpenAI could consider leaving the bloc if the EU’s upcoming legislation on artificial intelligence — known as the AI Act — is too stringent. Members of the European Parliament have added last-minute requirements to the text to regulate generative AI systems such as ChatGPT. The legislation now needs to be negotiated with representatives of EU countries before it becomes final.

The EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton had criticized Altman’s original comments: “There is no point in attempting blackmail — claiming that by crafting a clear framework, Europe is holding up the rollout of generative AI. To the contrary! With the ‘AI Pact’ I proposed, we aim to assist companies in their preparation to EU AI Act,” the French commissioner tweeted.

OpenAI CEO Altman has been touring Europe this week and visited countries including the United Kingdom, France and Germany. He met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

OpenAI doesn’t have an official headquarters in the EU yet, and French officials hope Altman will consider setting up shop there, a high-ranking French government official told POLITICO this week, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The French data protection authority’s strict approach to privacy, as well as the five pending privacy complaints against ChatGPT in the country, should not be seen as an issue, the government official said.

“It’s not the French CNIL who blocked ChatGPT, is it?” the official added, referring to the Italian regulator’s decision to temporarily block the popular chatbot over a lack of compliance with privacy rules.

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Laura Kayali

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