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Albania to speed up EU accession using ChatGPT


The Albanian government will use ChatGPT to translate thousands of pages of EU legal measures and provisions into shqip (Albanian language) and then integrate them into existing legal structures, following an agreement with the CEO of the parent company, OpenAI, Mira Murati, who was born in Albania.

Albania is Europe’s most pro-EU country, with more than 97% favouring membership despite being in the waiting room for 14 years. The idea is to use AI to speed up much of the paperwork in a bid to facilitate quicker bloc accession for the country, which has grown increasingly frustrated with the EU’s perceived enlargement fatigue.

ChatGPT is a large AI language model developed by Murati and her team at OpenAI that launched on 30 November 2022. It produces text content based on questions or prompts inputted by a user and can generate its content, translate, compose music, write computer programs, generate business ideas, summarise text, play games, and much more.

But Rama had another idea for its use.

The model to be used by the Albanian government will translate into Albanian and provide a detailed overview of what and where changes need to be made to local legislation to align with EU rules. It will also provide an analysis of the impact of all measures and changes, which usually require many experts and a lot of time.

Rama said the move would eliminate “an army of translators and a battalion of lawyers, costing millions of euros” and speed up the process.

The prime minister explained he had arranged a telephone meeting with Murati to make the suggestion.

“I heard a friendly voice that broke the ice, and I dared to ask her for help to prepare Albania more quickly for EU membership. She laughed and thought I was joking,” he said.

Eventually, Rama said, she agreed, and a joint team was set up between OpenAI and the National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI).

He said that on 13 December, at the EU summit in Brussels, he will present the project and a successful test of “the Albanian model of artificial intelligence for the interposition of the legislation totalling 280,000 pages of legal measures of the EU.”

Albania applied for EU membership in 2009 and has been an EU candidate country since 2014. Accession negotiations were unblocked after years of delays, mainly due to its progress being tied to that of North Macedonia in the summer of 2022.

As European Council Chief Charles Michel called for a new deadline for enlargement of the European Union, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said he appreciated the gesture, but It could need a lot longer than that.

Rama has been vocal about his frustration with the EU’s perceived lack of motivation or enthusiasm for enlargement and being held hostage by vetoes such as that of Bulgaria against North Macedonia and, recently, Greece against Albania.

Regarding the latter, Rama nodded to it in his comments, stating that when the project will be presented to the EU leaders “when I finish the meeting together with the Greek dilemma.”

Greece has threatened to veto the continuation of Albania’s accession talks over the continued imprisonment of Albanian ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri, who was arrested on suspicion of vote buying before the 2023 local elections in Himare.

Greece is blocking a letter from the 27 member states to the EU Commission on opening up the first five chapters of the accession process, a source confirmed to Euractiv.

EU spokesperson Peter Stano said on Tuesday night when the European Council adopted conclusions on enlargement, that the Commission would not interfere in the situation. “In this case, the law applies, the law must be respected, and if there are doubts, EU member states and Albania possess the instruments to provide solutions,” he said.

In August, the Albanian government announced it would start using ChatGPT to create services that would complement public administration through the e-Albania government services platform. The system uses a virtual operator that draws on ChatGPT to provide real-time responses. It is expected to be up and running in early 2024.

Rama also announced that AI will replace a large chunk of services in local and national government, particularly in public procurement, in a bid to crack down on corruption.

“Regardless of how many corrupt individuals will be punished by new justice, corruption will continue to remain a problem until modernisation and the quality of services reaches the extent of transformation. But time has given us the blessing of digital technology and artificial intelligence,” he said.

Describing existing processes as “archaic” and plagued by too many procurement officers and commissioners, he said within this mandate “, We will introduce procurement with AI…because the data will be taken by AI and not by the individual or company, and this will be transparent to everyone.”

Albania will be the first country to deploy the use of AI to assist it with the EU accession process, and if successful, it is set to have a significant impact on the process for other candidate countries.

Murati was recently propelled to the position of interim CEO of OpenAI following the departure of Sam Altman.

Born in Vlora, Albania, she studied in Tirana before moving to the US to study computer science at Dartmouth. She joined OpenAI in 2016 as an engineer before being promoted to CTO in 2019. During her four years in that role, she was responsible for overseeing the research and development of AI technology, including the ChatGPT model.

OpenAI, and Murati, known for shying away from interviews and public statements, have not commented on the news so far.

Source: Alice Taylor/ Euractiv.com


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