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Uphill road in negotiations on European AI rules – English

(ANSA) – BRUSSELS, NOV 23 – (by Alessandra Briganti) Brussels
had been gearing up to toast the go-ahead for the AI Act, the
world’s first law on artificial intelligence (AI), but the
celebrations now risk being postponed until the New Year.

Putting a spanner in the works of already complex negotiations
are Italy, France and Germany which, in a document, have
expressed their opposition to introducing “un-tested norms” on
the highest performing AI models such as GPT-4, the basis of the
ChatGPT chatbot.

On this point, one of the thorniest in the negotiations
involving the European institutions, the three EU heavyweights
suggest opting for the path of self-regulation through codes of
conduct for AI developers in order not to burden companies with
excessive administration that would stifle innovation in a
critical sector for the future.

It is an issue dear in particular to French President Emmanuel
Macron, who recently called for “not punitive regulation to
preserve innovation”.

In the search for a delicate balance between progress and the
protection of human rights, it is up to the European Parliament
to dig in its heels.

“We are not prepared to accept light self-regulation for the
most powerful models,” Brando Benifei, leader of the Democratic
Party (PD) MEP delegation in the European Parliament and
rapporteur for the AI Act, told ANSA.

He is, however, open to the possibility of limiting the scope of
this specific regulation to models for general use.

Codes of conduct are not enough, explained Benifei, pointing to
the OpenAI issue, which “showed up all the instability also in
the governance of companies that develop powerful models, namely
those that entail a systemic risk”.

It is therefore imperative to introduce “clear obligations” that
can be “sanctioned”, added the PD MEP, recalling that the
proposal from Rome, Paris and Berlin contains “no incentive to
respect self-imposed rules”.

However, another issue undermining progress towards concluding
the negotiations is the use of AI tools in the context of
national security.

On this point EU member states are asking for broad derogations
from the EP’s more restrictive approach.

According to Benifei, the finalisation of the AI Act agreement,
expected on December 6, will depend on “the efforts of the
Council to find a sufficiently ambitious point of compromise”.

However, member states are not going to sit and do nothing while
the AI Act receives the green light and is implemented.

The data protection watchdog had given a signal in this sense by
launching a fact-finding investigation on public and private
websites to verify the adoption of adequate security measures to
prevent the massive collection of personal data, known as
web-scraping, for the training of AI algorithms by third

The Authority will then be able to take the necessary measures,
also on an urgent basis. (ANSA).