TOKYO (Reuters) – OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said on Monday he is considering opening an office and expanding services in Japan, after meeting with Japan’s prime minister.
Prime Minister Hirokazu Matsuno said that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Altman exchanged views on technological advances and the benefits of artificial intelligence as well as its risks including privacy and copyright infringement.
Matsuno added that Japan will evaluate the possibility of introducing AI-assisted technology such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, examining the benefits and risks.
ChatGPT — developed by OpenAI-backed Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) — has raised privacy concerns, prompting Italy to temporarily block the chatbot.
“We hope to … build something great for the Japanese people and make better models for the Japanese language and Japanese culture,” Altman told reporters after meeting Kishida. His visit to Japan is the first international trip since ChatGPT was launched.
In a separate meeting at Japan’s ruling party headquarters, the CEO expressed hope that Japan, as a geopolitical power, would play a role in adopting AI and setting rules.
Matsuno told reporters at a briefing that Japan would consider government adoption of AI technology such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT if privacy and cybersecurity concerns are resolved.
Following Italy’s restrictions on ChatGPT, which inspired other European countries to consider such measures, OpenAI last week introduced measures to address the Italian regulator’s privacy-breaching concerns.
Matsuno said Japan will continue to evaluate the possibilities of introducing AI to reduce the workload of government employees after assessing how to respond to concerns such as data breaches.
Taro Kono, the ministerial minister in charge of Japan’s digital transformation, said on Friday he hopes AI technologies can “significantly” contribute to reforms to how government works, though he said it would be difficult to introduce ChatGPT in public offices soon due to problems such as Machine made lies.
Kono said he wants the Group of Seven digital ministers’ meeting, scheduled for April 29-30 in Japan, to discuss AI technologies including ChatGPT and issue a “unified G7 message.”
Additional reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Jacqueline Wong
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