The EU’s groundbreaking AI law is moving closer to reality as a rival rulebook is forming on the other side of the English Channel.
The union aims to agree on draft rules for the world’s first AI statute next month, This was reported by Reuters news agency on Monday.
“We are still on time to meet the overall goal and calendar we adopted at the beginning, which is to complete it during this mandate,” said Dragos Tudorache, a Member of the European Parliament and co-rapporteur on the EU AI law, to the news agency.
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Now that EU law comes into force, lawmakers in the UK are shaping a very different approach. Their priorities are to stimulate business, provide a competitive advantage and support responsible innovation.
The vision was first set out in a policy document last July. In the document, the government said it intends to building the “most pro-innovation regulatory environment in the world”.
“Regulation that is proportionate, light-footed and forward-looking is essential.
The ministers noted that the UK ranks third in the world in the number of scientific journal citations, receiving more investment in AI companies than France and Germany combined by 2021. The new regulations They hope the environment will further drive AI business use, attract international investment and nurture talent.
“A regulatory framework that is proportionate, nimble and forward-looking is essential to keep pace with the speed of developments in these technologies.” said then digital secretary Nadine Dorries.
The UK government in particular has been openly critical of the EU’s AI regulations. In a Dec press release to celebrate the UK’s technology sector’s position as the most valuable in Europe, the country’s “less centralized approach” was praised.
This approach leaves regulation to existing organizations – such as Ofcom, which regulates broadcasting – rather than a single overarching body. This allows rules to be tailored to different industries and to change over time. But this flexibility comes with certain risks.
Critics fear that the sectoral focus will lead to some areas falling through the cracks. There are also concerns about potentially conflicting rules and existing regulators monitoring AI without sufficient expertise.
There are currently no plans to support the plan with new laws. Instead, regulators will be guided by core principles, such as safety, transparency and fairness. This could reduce heavy liabilities, but detractors warn it will increase AI risks.
It is clear that they are looking for relative strength.
The proposals for “lighter touch” options, meanwhile, include guidance, voluntary measures and the creation of sandboxes. The government hopes this will attract companies to the UK.
“It is clear from the tone and from what the government is saying that they are looking for comparative strength in AI – and the EU is the closest comparator, by geography and by market,” Joe Jones, Director of Research and Insights at the International Association of Privacy Professionalstold TNW.
EU law takes a broader approach. A new body, the European AI Board, will oversee the framework, with member states creating their own enforcement bodies.
The use of AI will be divided into different risk levels. Systems with the highest risks can be banned, while minimum requirements apply to less risky systems.
As with the GDPR, rule breakers can face severe penalties. Violations would be punishable by fines of up to €30 million or 6% of global turnover.
More amendments are expected. The EU’s AI law has yet to work its way through a lengthy legislative process, while the UK’s white paper on the rules has been delayed.
Ultimately, both regulators seek the elusive balance sought in all tech legislation: reducing risk without stifling innovation. However, their priorities diverged.
The EU has given security a high priority, while the UK has emphasized the business case. Their choices could shape the continent’s AI landscape for years to come.