Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s vice president, has called for urgent action to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) use. She warned that there is no time to waste in controlling the risks that come with the technology. Vestager made these comments while speaking to reporters in Berlin. The European Commission had proposed regulatory measures early this year, but progress has been slow. The EU member states presented their opinions on the proposals at the end of 2022, and MEPs plan to hold an initial vote on the issue on Thursday. The Parliament’s opinion will be confirmed in a plenary vote in June, after which negotiations between the EU’s institutions will begin.
ChatGPT Raises Concerns
The launch of new AI tools like ChatGPT has renewed the debate over regulation and provoked government responses. ChatGPT can compose essays, poetry, and conversations from minimal prompts, and it has demonstrated an ability to pass some difficult exams. However, there are concerns that its capabilities may lead to widespread cheating in schools or increase misinformation on the internet. Its functioning requires training on vast datasets, raising concerns about the source of data and how it is handled. In March, Italy temporarily banned the program over allegations of privacy law violations. French and German regulators have also opened their own investigations.
EU’s Proposed Legislation
Vestager stated that AI such as ChatGPT would be subject to the EU’s AI Act. The proposed legislation is intended to be “future-proof” since it targets AI uses rather than specific technologies. The EU’s draft rules prohibit certain applications such as “generalized surveillance,” and companies must obtain authorization for other “high-risk” applications, such as facial recognition. Vestager hopes that the political negotiation will begin before summer and that the legislation will be concluded this year. She emphasized the importance of speed in getting the legislation in place.