Major firms warn EU over AI regulation risks

AFP , Friday 30 Jun 2023

More than 150 leading companies warned the EU's plans to regulate artificial intelligence risk harming Europe's competitiveness and do not go far enough to tackle challenges, in a letter seen by AFP Friday.

The European Parliament in June backed a draft law that will be the basis for the world s first comprehensive rules for AI. AFP


There have been growing calls for regulation after an array of examples like OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT passing medical and bar exams that have demonstrated AI's dizzying advances but also the possible risks.

The European Parliament earlier this month backed a draft law that will be the basis for the world's first comprehensive rules for AI.

It includes specific provisions for generative AI systems, such as ChatGPT and Dall-E, capable of producing text, images and other media.

The parliament and the EU's 27 member states will negotiate on the regulation before it is approved and the bloc wants to strike a deal by the end of the year.

The rules stipulate that AI-generated content must be declared as such and bans some AI including real-time facial recognition systems.

"In our assessment, the draft legislation would jeopardise Europe's competitiveness and technological sovereignty without effectively tackling the challenges we are and will be facing," executives from France's Airbus, Peugeot and Renault, Germany's Siemens, and Facebook parent firm Meta said in the open letter to EU institutions.

They warned under the draft law, generative AI "would be heavily regulated" and that such regulation could lead "highly innovative companies" to move their activities abroad and investors withdrawing their capital from the development in Europe.

"The result would be a critical productivity gap between the two sides of the Atlantic," they added.

One of the MEPs who spearheaded the legislation through parliament, Dragos Tudorache, said he was "convinced" the executives had "not carefully read the text", adding the "concrete suggestions" made in the letter had already been included in the text.

"It is a pity that the aggressive and misleading lobby of a few is capturing other serious companies in the net," Tudorache said.

He said the complaint "undermines the undeniable lead that Europe has taken in this file on the global stage".

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