A group of lawmakers working on the European Union’s approach to artificial intelligence has called for the creation of global “governing principles” for the burgeoning technology, in response to fears about the pace of its development.
A dozen members of the European Parliament signed a letter calling for U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to convene a global summit, with a view to creating “a preliminary set of governing principles for the development, control, and deployment of very powerful artificial intelligence.”
The framework is also expected to be developed with the aim "of steering development of very powerful artificial intelligence in a direction that is human-centric, safe, and trustworthy."
The signatories are members of a group that has been charged with putting together the EU’s own approach to regulation, known as the AI Act.
The letter was in part a response to last month’s Future of Life Institute letter, published last month and signed by the likes of Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, which suggested a six-month moratorium on further enhancements in AI.
“AI is moving very fast and we need to move too,” MEP Dragoș Tudorache, a lead signatory of the European letter, wrote on Twitter. “The call from the Future of Life Institute to pause the development of very powerful AI for half a year, although unnecessarily alarmist, is another signal we need to focus serious political attention on this issue.”
AI is moving very fast and we need to move too. The call from the Future of Life Institute @FLIxrisk to pause the development of very powerful AI for half a year, although unnecessarily alarmist, is another signal we need to focus serious political attention on this issue. pic.twitter.com/Tjrj9k02Yj
— Dragoș Tudorache (@IoanDragosT) April 17, 2023
The letter also urges companies and laboratories working with AI to “strive for an ever-increasing sense of responsibility” and to be open with regulators.
European Union’s AI Act
Tudorache is one of two co-rapporteurs for the EU’s AI Act, alongside Italian MEP Brando Benifei. They were appointed to lead negotiations on the legislation in late 2021.
Those working on the Act say it could be the first law on AI made by a major regulator anywhere in the world. It could also “serve as a blueprint for other regulatory initiatives in different regulatory traditions and environments around the world,” the MEPs said in their letter.
The EU’s Council agreed on a common position on the AI Act in December last year. Next, the Parliament will agree on its position, after which the two institutions will negotiate in a process known as “trilogues.”
The latest regulatory push comes as several governments around the world grow increasingly jittery about the prospect of fast-developing AI, with Italy banning OpenAI’s ChatGPT product earlier this month.
Authorities in Canada, Germany, France, and Sweden have all expressed concerns about the popular chatbot.
At the same time, the European Union has been making strides to keep up with digital technology. This week, parliamentarians will vote on landmark crypto regulation Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), part of a broader package of digital reforms.