In response to the European Commission’s proposal for an “Artificial Intelligence Act” expected to be published today, the Center for Data Innovation released the following statement from Benjamin Mueller, Senior Policy Analyst:

The Artificial Intelligence Act strikes a damaging blow to the Commission’s goal of turning the EU into a global AI leader by creating a thicket of new rules that will hamstring technology companies hoping to build and use AI in Europe. Rather than supercharge the European digital economy, this law will cause it to fall even further behind the United States and China. 

The law will kneecap the EU’s nascent AI industry before it can learn to walk. Its definition of AI is so expansive that it covers any software using standard machine learning techniques. The ban on “‘manipulative”’ AI is based on questionable definitions that will spark costly legal and regulatory battles. And its impositions of complex regulatory and technical requirements on “high-risk” AI systems would curtail the use of many socially beneficial applications of AI. 

Rather than focusing on actual threats like mass surveillance, disinformation, or social control, the Commission wants to micro-manage the use of AI across a vast range of applications. The EU should adopt a light-touch framework limited in scope and adapt it based on observed harms.

The consequences of the law are all too predictable: it will slow down the spread of AI, encourage innovators to build next-generation technology outside of Europe, and discourage European businesses from adopting AI. The Artificial Intelligence Act creates enormous costs and little tangible consumer benefit. It is a barrier to growth and innovation which the European tech sector will struggle to overcome. 

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