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White House cautions EU against “innovation-killing” AI regulation

The White House has sought to discourage the European Union from developing stringent artificial intelligence regulation, amid claims it could harm US tech firms and play into the hands of Chinese rivals.

The Trump administration issued a fact sheet on Tuesday (7 January), setting out a series of principles to guide the development of the technology within a loose ethical framework designed to limit regulatory “overreach”.

“Regulators must conduct risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses prior to any regulatory action on AI, with a focus on establishing flexible frameworks rather than one-size-fits-all regulation,” the note stated.

But while the guidance promotes deployments which prioritise fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety and security, it also cautions against regulation which could stifle US innovation.

“Europe and our allies should avoid heavy handed innovation-killing models,” the White House said. “The best way to counter authoritarian uses of AI is to make sure America and our international partners remain the global hubs of innovation.”

The European Commission’s high level expert group on AI came under fire from within its own ranks last year when it published a list of guidelines that had allegedly been watered down.

But Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, has vowed to create new regulations governing artificial intelligence. After her candidacy for the presidency was approved by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in November, von der Leyen said she was in favour of a AI-focused legislation similar to the General Data Protection Regulation that came into effect last year.

“It is not about damming up the flow of data,” she told MEPs. “It is about making rules that define how to handle data responsibly. For us the protection of a person’s digital identity is the overriding priority.”

New European Commission president pledges GDPR-style AI legislation