European companies are frightened by the possible negative consequences of the AI Act. In an open letter addressed to the European Union, more than 150 independents, managers and researchers expressed their concerns.
Two weeks after the approval of the AI Act draft in the European Parliament, the potentially negative consequences of the proposed law are starting to sink in. European companies don’t seem comfortable with how things are going and are addressing regulators in an open letter, which the Financial Times has already read. The letter is receiving support from more than 150 researchers, executives and independents. This already certainly includes executives from Renault, Heineken, Airbus and Siemens.
‘Europe’s competitiveness at risk’
The letter deals with the potential negative impact of the AI Act on the European economy. For example, the Act “could jeopardize Europe’s competitiveness and technological sovereignty.”
According to the letter, the proposed legislation could result in Europe depriving itself of the opportunity to “rejoin the technological avant-garde.” Similar warnings were raised earlier in America.
‘Too strict on generative AI’
The letter pays enormous attention to the upcoming regulation of generative AI. These typically possess their own language model, and under the new legislation, all “foundation models” will have to transparently communicate the sources for their model and how their product works.
European companies are concerned that strict regulation will discourage AI developers from making their products available to the EU. To be in compliance with regulations, these companies must commit a lot of time and resources, which can create a hurdle.
However, the EU has already relaxed the rules for generative AI products in its approved bill. Earlier drafts wanted to consider AI products that create content impossible to distinguish from human content as high risk by definition. In that case, launching generative AI products in Europe was almost impossible. OpenAI took matters into its own hands and solved the problem before it emerged by lobbying with the EU.
According to the companies of the open letter, the current bill is also far too strict: “Europe cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.” The letter was sent to the European Commission today.
EU: ‘Serious companies played up’
Dragoş Tudorache, MEP and proponent of the AI Act, reacted to the letter disappointedly. “It is a pity that the aggressive lobby of a few are capturing other serious companies,” he said. According to him, companies are lured into signing the open letter “on the stimulus of a few.”
He believes that European companies should be proud of the AI Act, and that such a letter “unfortunately undermines the undeniable lead Europe has taken.” He says the letter merely calls for actions already proposed by the European Parliament: “an industry-led process for defining standards, governance with industry at the table, and a light regulatory regime that asks for transparency. Nothing else.”
In other words, the open letter does not impress the European Commission. Consequently, reform of the bill does not seem imminent.