AI unicorns Warn Europe Against Overregulation
As the European Union is set to adopt its landmark law governing artificial intelligence (AI) systems, a group of 33 EU-based technology companies warns against excessive regulation that could hinder innovation.
Overly Strict Regulation Could Hamper European Innovation in AI
A coalition of 33 technology companies based in the European Union has sent a letter to European regulators, cautioning them against overly strict regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems before the AI Act is finalized.
The letter, sent on November 23, emphasizes that overly strict regulations targeting basic models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and general-purpose AI (GPAI) could smother the innovation that Europe desperately needs. Indeed, only 8% of European companies currently use AI, far from the European Commission’s target of 75% by 2030. Moreover, only 3% of the world’s AI unicorns are European.
However, Europe’s competitiveness and economic prosperity heavily depend on its ability to deploy AI in key sectors such as green energies, health, industry, or energy.
The signatories highlight that to become a “global digital power,” Europe needs European AI leaders, based on basic models and GPAI. Excessively strict regulation will kill these technologies in the cradle before they have had a chance to grow and benefit the European economy.
Recommendations to Promote Responsible Innovation
While recognizing the necessity of a regulatory framework, the technology companies recommend several approaches to European decision-makers to foster responsible innovation:
- Reduce excessive compliance costs for businesses,
- Focus on regulating high-risk use cases rather than the technologies themselves,
- Clarify overlaps with existing legislation.
Finally, as these companies point out, “let’s not quash them before they have a chance to grow, nor force them to leave”.
This warning comes at a critical time when the EU is finalizing its landmark AI law, initially proposed in April. A first letter co-signed by 160 technology leaders in April already highlighted the dangers of over-ambitious regulation. Let’s hope that European regulators will find the right balance between protecting citizens and supporting innovation.
The ball is now in the court of European decision-makers. Will they be cautious enough with these emerging technologies to avoid stifling innovations that could make Europe a global leader in AI? The coming weeks will be decisive.
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