**European Business Leaders Concerned about Potential Overregulation of A.I. in the EU**
European business leaders, including the CEOs of companies like Renault and Siemens, executives from Heineken, and the chief A.I. scientist at Meta, have signed an open letter to the European Parliament expressing their concerns about proposed restrictions on artificial intelligence (A.I.). In the letter, they argue that overregulation could cause innovative companies to move their activities out of Europe, resulting in a productivity gap between Europe and the United States.
Proposed A.I. Act Threatens Innovation and Productivity
The letter specifically takes aim at the A.I. Act, a proposed law that has been in development for two years and recently received approval on June 14. The A.I. Act is expected to become the strictest regulation of generative A.I. in the world. It categorizes the use of A.I. into different risk levels, with “high-risk” applications requiring multiple rounds of tests for approval. These high-risk applications include A.I. use in the energy or legal system, as well as screening job applications or distributing government benefits.
Additionally, the A.I. Act introduces bans on certain uses of A.I., such as facial recognition A.I. and the scraping of biometric data from social media. It also emphasizes transparency, requiring companies to disclose more data about their technology, including copyrighted materials used for training their A.I. systems.
European Business Leaders Fear Lost Opportunities
The executives who signed the letter believe that these proposed regulations could hinder progress and prevent Europe from becoming a leader in the A.I. field. They argue that Europe should be part of the technological avant-garde, and they urge European decision-makers to revise the A.I. Act to ensure a proportionate and forward-looking legislation that promotes European competitiveness while protecting society.
Startups Likely to Suffer the Most
Despite concerns from European business leaders, it is believed that the major players in the A.I. industry, such as Google, will not be heavily impacted by the proposed regulations due to their legal resources. However, startups and smaller firms may face significant obstacles and may consider either refraining from A.I. development or choosing locations outside of Europe.
EU’s Regulations Ahead of U.S. and China
Compared to the U.S. and China, the EU is further along in terms of A.I. regulation. While the U.S. is currently in the drafting phase of legislation, Beijing has released draft rules for A.I. that have not yet been approved. Being the first to pass A.I. legislation could provide an advantage to Europe, as it has in the past with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Proposed Changes to Ensure Innovation and Competitiveness
The letter proposes that the EU focus on developing broad principles for A.I. regulation with an expert regulatory body, rather than implementing strict restrictions. They emphasize the need for the regulatory body to remain agile and adapt to the pace of A.I. advancements and emerging risks, while also engaging in dialogue with the economy. The executives believe that A.I. will transform the economy and culture, and they want Europe to maintain its competitiveness and technological sovereignty.
Concerns Overbalance of Regulation
Despite the open letter, experts like Georg Ringe, co-founder of the Hamburg Network for A.I. and Law, are not optimistic about potential changes to the A.I. Act. Ringe believes that policymakers in Brussels are determined to push it through. He argues that the proposed law focuses too much on regulation and caution, potentially stifling innovation and growth in the A.I. industry.
In conclusion, European business leaders are concerned that proposed overregulation of A.I. in the EU could hinder innovation, drive companies away from Europe, and create a productivity gap between Europe and the U.S. They advocate for a revision of the A.I. Act to promote European competitiveness while ensuring a proportionate and forward-looking approach to A.I. regulation. However, experts believe that policymakers are unlikely to make significant changes to the proposed law.