EU to regulate AI

Bloomberg News reports that members of the European Union reached a deal on the first major regulation of artificial intelligence in the West.

Delegates from the European Commission, the European Parliament and 27 member countries agreed to a set of controls for generative artificial intelligence tools such as OpenAI Inc.'s ChatGPT and Google's Bard — the kind capable of producing content on command, EU internal markets chief Thierry Breton said Friday in a post on the social media site X. … The decision was hammered out at a session on Friday following a nearly 24 hour marathon that stretched from Wednesday to Thursday. During the first meeting, some negotiators dozed off in the hall as others debated the most sensitive topic of restricting live facial scanning technology in public before finally agreeing to break. The difficult discussions underscore how contentious the debate over regulating AI has become, dividing world leaders and tech executives alike as generative tools continue explode in popularity. The EU — like other governments including the US and UK — has struggled to find a balance between the need to protect its own AI startups, such as France's Mistral AI and Germany's Aleph Alpha, against potential societal risks.

A predictable sticking point was law enforcement and intelligence community expectations to be exempted from privacy controls, especially facial recognition—and it looks like they got what they wanted. The legislative text is not yet publicly available, so much of the present discussion online is squeezed out of drafts and news reportage of matters under discussion, then strained through the authors' own political filters.