EU official warns against “AI paranoia”

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One of the European Union’s most prominent officials has cautioned against an overly apprehensive or restrictive approach when it comes to regulating generative artificial intelligence.

Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency, stated that the impending EU legislation should not be constructed based on dystopian concerns. She stated, “We should avoid becoming excessively paranoid when evaluating the potential risks of AI. It’s crucial to conduct a thorough analysis of possible risks.” Jourová, one of the two commissioners responsible for implementing the EU’s groundbreaking AI law, further noted that people shouldn’t label things as high-risk if they don’t presently appear to be so. Regarding the AI, governments should maintain a dynamic process, where, when technologies are being employed in a risky manner, they can later classify them as high-risk.

She also concurred that excessive regulation could pose a threat to technological and business innovation. While the EU has been at the forefront of regulating AI, other countries, including the US and China, are deliberating their own controls on AI development and usage. The UK is set to host a global summit on AI regulation next month.

Jourová’s remarks coincide with the final stages of negotiations between the European Commission, European Parliament, and member states to finalize the AI Act, a process that commenced two and a half years after the legislation was initially proposed by the Commission. The negotiations aim to reach a conclusion by the end of this year.

Businesses have expressed concerns that the use of generative AI might enable the manipulation of public opinion through the creation of deep fakes. Some members of the European Parliament are afraid about the technology’s potential to generate original content that might infringe upon copyright laws.

The Commission’s initial draft primarily focused on safeguarding human rights, especially privacy, and revolved around regulating technology risks. However, the Parliament has introduced legal responsibilities for creators of foundational AI models and their applications, such as ChatGPT, making them liable for the technology’s use. Developers of generative AI models like ChatGPT would be obligated to disclose AI-generated content and provide summaries of copyrighted data used in their training to combat disinformation and illegal content.

Jourová, overseeing the legislative process along with Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, is set to advocate for the EU’s model to be the leading example of how to regulate AI. She envisions the EU as setting standards for the democratic world, though she acknowledges a competitive relationship with China in the realm of technology.

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