Published on May 18, 2024, 8:31 am

The integration of generative AI technology into search engines like Bing has raised significant concerns, leading the EU Commission to demand internal documents from Microsoft regarding the risks associated with generative AI. Failure to comply could result in fines amounting to up to one percent of Microsoft’s annual revenue.

Despite efforts such as adding generative AI to Bing Copilot, Microsoft hasn’t seen a substantial improvement in its search market presence. Instead, there have been instances of misinformation and peculiar situations for users, particularly around election-related content. The EU Commission has expressed worries about the potential misuse of generative AI leading to false information dissemination and manipulated content that could mislead voters.

In response to these concerns, the Commission has set a deadline for Microsoft to provide detailed information on how they mitigate risks related to their generative AI capabilities. Generative AI poses a particular risk as Europe gears up for upcoming Parliament elections in June.

If Microsoft fails to meet the requirements within the stipulated timeframe, penalties may be imposed, potentially reaching up to 1% of their total annual turnover or worldwide revenue. Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), fines can also be imposed for disseminating false or misleading information, highlighting the seriousness of maintaining accuracy in online platforms.

AlgorithmWatch’s Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager, Clara Helming, pointed out specific instances where Copilot generated false candidates and misrepresented poll results during election research. Prompt action is essential given upcoming elections where accurate information is crucial.

This should serve as a warning not only for Microsoft but also for other tech giants like Google, which is actively incorporating generative AI into its services such as Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). As regulatory scrutiny increases globally, companies will need to ensure compliance with laws governing data accuracy and content integrity.

Unethical practices surrounding the use of generative AI can lead to financial penalties and reputational damage for companies like Microsoft and Google. It underscores the importance of responsible AI implementation and adherence to regulatory standards in advancing technology while safeguarding against misinformation dissemination.

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