In a united front, businesses and technology groups have issued a stern warning to the European Union (EU), urging caution against excessive regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, particularly foundation models, as negotiations on crucial AI rules reach their final stages. The concern is that stringent regulations could stifle innovation, jeopardize nascent start-ups, and potentially force them out of the region.
Foundation models, exemplified by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, are AI systems trained on extensive datasets, possessing the capacity to learn from new information and execute various tasks. As EU countries and lawmakers approach the end of negotiations, the outcome is poised to establish a precedent for global AI standards.
A joint letter, endorsed by thirty-two European digital associations, emphasized the need for a balanced approach. The signatories, pointing out that a mere 3% of the world’s AI unicorns originate from the European Union, threw their support behind a proposal by France, Germany, and Italy. This proposal aims to narrow the focus of AI rules for foundation models specifically to transparency requirements.
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One contentious issue raised in the letter is the broad scope of the draft AI rules, particularly concerning foundation models, which could potentially conflict with existing legislation in sectors such as healthcare. Companies stressed the importance of considering the implications on the medical sector, expressing frustration at what they perceive as a lack of attention to these critical issues.
“We are increasingly frustrated at what we see as a lack of interest in the effects on the medical sector. Our impression is that people don’t care about the content anymore; they just want to get it done. We are simply collateral damage,” commented Georgina Prodhan, spokesperson for Siemens Healthineers (SHLG.DE).
Moreover, the companies rejected calls from creative industries to address copyright concerns within the AI rules. They argued that the EU’s existing comprehensive copyright protection and enforcement framework already includes provisions capable of handling AI-related copyright issues, such as text and data mining exemptions.
As the EU inches closer to finalizing these landmark AI rules, the delicate balance between fostering innovation and implementing necessary regulations remains a critical focal point. The outcome of these negotiations is poised to shape the future of AI development not only within the EU but also globally, setting a standard that other nations may follow.