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Europe Could Reach Tentative Agreement on AI Act This Week

EU Official: ‘Dystopian’ Fears Shouldn’t Guide AI Regulation

This could be a make-or-break week for the future of Europe’s AI Act.

The European Union could reach a tentative agreement on the artificial intelligence regulation this week, assuming debates don’t get hung up on how to govern advanced AI models, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Dec. 6).

Representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU’s 27 member nations are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the act in hopes of having a final agreement in place by year’s end, the report said.

Officials are hoping to reach a deal, although debates remain on how to regulate “general purpose” AI models — such as OpenAI’s GPT-4 — and the level of restrictions on government use of live facial scanning technology, according to the report.

Europe will hold parliamentary elections next year, which means time is growing short to adopt the AI Act, the report said. Also, countries including Germany and France worry that overregulating the industry will hinder innovation in Europe.

As economist David S. Evans argued in an opinion piece published Wednesday, Europe lags on the AI innovation front, with Europe and the U.K. far behind China in the number of patents granted and patent applications.

“Patent grants and application counts are an imperfect measure of innovation,” Evans wrote. “The EU and EU+U.K. shares are so tiny relative to the U.S. and China, however, that they point to far less innovative effort going into AI.”

Meanwhile, private AI investment is somewhat better “but still portrays the EU as the tortoise to the U.S. hare,” he added.

Investors in the U.S. poured $206.3 billion into the AI sector between 2018 and last year, versus $82.3 billion for China and $37.5 billion for the EU and the U.K.

Last month, PYMNTS spoke with AI-ID founder and CEO Shaunt Sarkissian, who called the AI Act “a little myopic” and argued that it was “blurred” by Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“It’s taken the lessons of GDPR and said, ‘We’re going to limit informing the models,’” Sarkissian said. “‘We’re going to put everybody in control of how data is used and shared, as opposed to the commerce effects of that data.’”

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