CNBC Reports

Europe is at Risk for Over-Restricting AI, CNBC Reports

News 26 Jun 2024 51 Views

Europe risks falling behind its competition in AI development due to its over-restricting policies against the use of artificial intelligence technology, says the Netherlands Prince. In an interview with CNBC on the Money 20/20 Fintech Conference, Prince Constantijn added, “Our ambition seems to be limited to being good regulators.”  

Constantijn is quite a visionary and the ambassador of Techleap. In this Dutch startup accelerator, local startups are empowered with talent, technologies, and capital while helping them expand their operations across international markets.

“We’ve seen this in the data space [with GDPR], we’ve seen this now in the platform space, and now with the AI space,” Constantijn added. However, as AI is employed in carrying out fraudulent and unethical activities, the country’s regulatory bodies are setting strict measures against its use, limiting tech companies from harnessing the power of AI to bring innovations to Europe.

In the wake of the legitimate use of AI, the bloc has finally approved the EU AI Act, a breakthrough to regulate artificial intelligence while ensuring its ethical use. However, EU lawmakers’ primary concern about AI is related to citizens’ privacy and security and discrimination bias.

AI Act takes a risk-based approach to artificial intelligence while defining that different AI applications are regulated differently depending on the risk levels. For instance, for GenAI applications, the law sets out clear copyrights and transparent requirements. Under the new law, all companies must ensure that all GenAI systems have checks to restrict illegal output, disclose if the content is AI generated, and publish copyrighted data summaries for training algorithms.

“It’s good to have guardrails. We want to bring clarity to the market, predictability and all that,” he told CNBC earlier this month on the sidelines of Money 20/20. “But it’s tough to do that in such a fast-moving space. There are big risks in getting it wrong, and like we’ve seen in genetically modified organisms, it hasn’t stopped the development. It just stopped Europe developing it, and now we are consumers of the product rather than producers able to influence the market as it develops.”

Like the AI laws and policies, the country has also witnessed strict rules and regulations for Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs) due to their implications on citizens’ health. Between 1994 and 2004, the EU Commission emerged with a moratorium that required companies to get approval for creating GMOs, aiming to offer locals the best health measures. However, US National Academies of Sciences studies show GMOs do not harm humans or the environment.

The Dutch Prince also said that the increasing number of regulations and restrictions on leveraging technologies is harming the country’s race to bring innovations in the AI sector. Furthermore, the prince added that Europe had quite a bad score as the US market was a much bigger and unified market with more cash flow.

“Where we score well is, I think, on talent,” he said. “We score well on technology itself.” Plus, when developing AI applications, “Europe is going to be competitive,” Constantijn noted. He nevertheless added that “the underlying data infrastructure and IT infrastructure is something we’ll keep depending on large platforms to provide.”

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