Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s new digital and big tech regulator, has promised ethical and human-centered rules on artificial intelligence (AI) in the first 100 days of her mandate.
The EU can’t be a leader in AI “without ethical guidelines,” she told MEPs in her confirmation hearing this week. “The artificial intelligence you want must serve humans. That’s a different kind of artificial intelligence” from that seen in the US and China, she said.
The new rules will build on the EU’s reputation as the world’s foremost technology watchdog and regulator of online privacy.
It’s this proactive regulatory stance that distinguishes Europe from other parts of the world, said Vestager. “Some say China has all the data and the US has all the money. But in Europe, we have purpose [and] a lot to build on.”
However, Vestager promised Brussels would be “very careful not to over-regulate” AI by issuing hard rules that could slow innovation. “Obviously we need the feedback from many, many businesses, but I also believe you have to act fast.”
Vestager’s outsized influence on the rules of the game for internet companies has caused rancour in the past with US technology companies, which have long complained that Brussels unfairly focuses on them. “She hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met,” US President Donald Trump complained in June.
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