EU - Europe to Become World’s Super-Regulator in AI

J. Froese

Most laws are local—except in the digital realm. When the European Union comes up with some new tech regulation, it can quickly spread around the world. Global companies adopt its typically strict rules for all their products and markets in order to avoid having to comply with multiple regimes. Other governments take more than one page from the EU’s rule book to help local firms compete. The textbook example for what has been dubbed the “Brussels effect,” is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into force in 2018 and swiftly became the global standard.

Small wonder, then, that all eyes were on Brussels when the European Commission on April 21st published proposed regulations on artificial intelligence (AI)—making it the first influential regulator to craft a big law on AI. Will these rules be as widely adopted as GDPR?

With little existing legislation on AI to draw on, the commission opted for a bottom-up approach. It created a 52-member “high-level expert group” to develop its proposals, collected further input via an “AI alliance” of interested parties and published a white paper on which everybody could comment online (1,250 groups and individuals did so). The result is a document of more than 100 pages with 85 articles and no fewer than nine annexes that tries both to mitigate the potential harm of AI and to maximize its opportunities—almost to a fault, as the many exceptions and exceptions to exceptions show.

Rather than regulating all applications of AI, the EU’s rules are meant to focus on the riskiest ones. Some will be banned outright, including services that use “subliminal techniques” to manipulate people. Others, such as facial recognition and credit scoring, are considered “high-risk” and so subject to strict rules on transparency and data quality. As with GDPR, penalties for violations are stiff: up to €30m ($36m) or 6% of global revenues, whichever is higher (in the case of a firm as big as Facebook, for example, that would come to more than $5bn).

Yet the fate of the “Artificial Intelligence Act” (AIA), as it could end up being called, may well be decided in America. If GDPR took the world by storm, it was partly because Congress not only failed to come up with any data-protection legislation of its own, but also did not bother to co-operate with lawmakers in Brussels. The new administration wants to do better, but so far the transatlantic rapprochement in AI and other things tech is off to a slow start. Only if both sides work together will they beat back China’s ambitions for tech supremacy and keep digital authoritarianism at bay.

-www.economist.com, 24 April 2021

Commentary

As the article mentions and we have previously reported, the European Union has already become the de facto global regulator in terms of privacy and data protection. They were the first to implement a comprehensive privacy law, which global social media companies and online retailers must comply with for their European customers. In practice, this often means they are applied across their platforms and thus to everyone worldwide. Incidentally, this has been generally positive for us as individual consumers, albeit a burden for large, multinational companies.

Now the EU is set to take the lead again, this time establishing regulation on artificial intelligence (AI). As we’ve mentioned before, this is nothing like real human intelligence; it is just a new paradigm for computer programming that—while being substantially more sophisticated and quite frankly amazing—still is just a long string of deterministic steps taken by a computer to calculate an answer.

Nevertheless, this demonstrates another step in the inexorable march to globalism, whether it be due to global trade or the inherently global nature of the Internet. (By J. Froese)

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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