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

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

A top European Union official is warning against letting “dystopian” fears govern artificial intelligence (AI) rulemaking.

Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, said in an interview with the Financial Times (FT) Tuesday (Oct. 3) that paranoia in AI regulation could stifle innovation.

“There should not be paranoia in assessing the risks of AI,” said Jourová, who the FT noted is one of two commissioners overseeing the launch of the EU’s AI Act. “It always has to be a solid analysis of the possible risks.”

She added: “We should not mark as high-risk things which do not seem to be high-risk at the moment. There should be a dynamic process where, when we see technologies being used in a risky way, we are able to add them to the list of high risk later on.”

Her comments come as several countries around the world look into AI regulations as the technology becomes more popular.

It’s something that governments and industry figures alike are pushing, with OpenAI Co-founder and CEO Sam Altman voicing concerns last month about “under-regulation” of the technology.

“We’ve been calling for regulation, but only of the most powerful systems,” Altman said Sept. 25. “…Models that are, like, 10,000 times the power of GPT4, models that are, like, as smart as human civilization, whatever, those probably deserve some regulation.”

As PYMNTS wrote in September, as approaches to governing AI risks become law, “they will, in turn, become key elements of international relations and the interoperability of innovation.”

That’s where the “Brussels Effect” comes in. It’s a term for the tendency among multinational companies to standardize their global operations so that they adhere to EU regulations, regardless of where they do business.

The EU’s regulatory regime has a history of hostility to innovation, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sept. 13. By moving “too fast” with its AI Act, the bloc risks hindering its tech sector’s progress, PYMNTS wrote.

“If you make it difficult for models to be trained in the EU versus the U.S., well, where will the technology gravitate?” Shaunt Sarkissian, founder and CEO at AI-ID, said in an interview with PYMNTS posted in June. “Where it can grow the best. Just like water, it will flow to wherever is most easily accessible.”

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