A joint document spotted by Reuters reveals that Germany, France and Italy have reached an agreement on how to regulate AI in the future. The agreement is expected to accelerate negotiations at the European level. The three governments all agree to make binding voluntary commitments to large/small AI providers in the EU. The European Commission, European Parliament and European Council are currently negotiating how the EU should find its place in this new area.
The EU Parliament proposed an “AI Bill” in June. The bill aims to avoid security risks brought about by AI applications and avoid discriminatory effects. However, it doesn’t want to slow down the innovative power of this new technology in Europe. During the discussion, the European Parliament proposed that the code of conduct should first be binding only on major AI providers, mainly from the United States.
However, three EU governments have warned against this apparent competitive advantage of Europe’s smaller suppliers. They said this could lead to less trust in the security of these smaller providers, leading to fewer customers. Thus, they eventually agreed that the “rules of conduct and transparency should be binding on everyone.”
Germany’s Economy Ministry, which is jointly responsible for the topic with the Digital Affairs Ministry, said that laws and state controls should not regulate AI itself, but its use. The development of AI models that have not yet been put into use or have not yet been put on the market should not be regulated by the state alone.
Key Points of the Agreement
The joint paper seen by Reuters outlines the following key points of the agreement:
1. Binding Voluntary Commitments: The three governments support binding voluntary commitments for all AI providers in the EU, regardless of their size or origin.
2. Regulating Applications, Not Technology: The focus of the regulation is on regulating the applications of AI, rather than the technology itself. This approach aims to harness the opportunities of AI while limiting the associated risks.
3. European Authority Monitoring Compliance: The agreement proposes the establishment of a European authority to monitor compliance with AI regulation standards in the EU.
4. EU Institutions’ Debate on AI Act: The European Commission, the European Parliament, and the EU Council are currently negotiating the EU’s position in the field of AI. The Parliament presented an “AI Act” in June, aiming to avert safety risks from AI applications and avoid discriminatory effects without impeding the innovative power of the technology in Europe.
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Germany’s Economy Ministry, responsible for the issue along with the Ministry of Digital Affairs, emphasized that the state should not regulate AI itself, but rather its use. The German Federal Government’s National AI strategy aims to bring benefits for people and the environment and to fund AI applications to benefit society. This approach aligns with the joint agreement reached by Germany, France, and Italy. It also supports binding voluntary commitments for both large and small AI providers in the European Union.
The German strategy proposes several policy reforms and initiatives for formal training and education, with a special focus on the formation of educators, trainers, and the general public to ensure a high-quality level of education in AI. Also, Germany contributes to the ongoing work of the OECD on AI and supports the OECD’s Principles on AI, aiming to help policymakers implement these principles.
France has been actively advocating for global-scale regulations for artificial intelligence (AI) and recognizes the United States as a significant partner in this endeavour. French President Macron proposed that platforms such as the G7 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) would be suitable for establishing global regulations for AI by the end of 2023.
French politicians emphasize the importance of ensuring safety, minimizing biases, and promoting transparency in AI systems, all while encouraging flexibility to foster innovation. France aims to position itself as a hub for AI development and work alongside the EU’s groundbreaking AI Act while advocating for global regulations.
Moreover, French President Macron has warned against overly restrictive and punitive AI regulation, emphasizing the need to regulate the uses of AI rather than the technologies themselves. Macron stressed the importance of controlled regulation to preserve innovation, highlighting the ongoing discussions within the European Union on the AI Act.
Italy’s stance on AI regulation is focused on establishing an ethical regulatory framework for sustainable and trustworthy AI. The Italian Ministry of Economic Development released a draft version of its National AI strategy in October 2020, which highlights the importance of ensuring transparency, accountability, and reliability in AI systems to stimulate citizens’ trust and engagement in a thriving AI ecosystem.
The Italian strategy also emphasizes the need to foster AI research and innovation to enhance entrepreneurial competitiveness, support international networks and partnerships, develop data infrastructure for AI applications, and improve public services through wider adoption and use of AI systems.
Moreover, the Italian government has committed to governing AI and mitigating its potential risks, particularly to safeguard human rights and ensure an ethical deployment of AI. The government aims to invest €2.5 billion in human capital, research, and innovation in AI.
To date, there is no specific domestic regulation in Italy focusing on bias and discriminatory practices in the field of AI. However, the Italian Constitution provides different principles and provisions that AI can affect, and certain AI solutions have already been scrutinized by courts and authorities.
The agreement reached by Germany, France, and Italy on future AI regulation emphasizes the importance of binding voluntary commitments for AI providers in the EU, with a focus on regulating applications rather than the technology itself. This approach is expected to shape the EU’s position in the field of AI and establish a framework for monitoring compliance with AI regulation standards.