Report: US Watchful as EU Progresses With AI Policy
WASHINGTON — As the European Union moves ahead with its Artificial Intelligence Act, it’s time for American lawmakers to pay attention to potential policies, said John Soroushian, a senior associate director at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“It’s important to pay attention to the interaction of AI and other technologies because AI doesn’t stand by itself,” Soroushian said in a phone interview Wednesday, days after he and his colleagues published a report on Europe’s pending policy.
“It’s important to look across the Atlantic as Europeans shape tech policy, specifically something like artificial intelligence that is increasingly used in everyday life,” Soroushian said.
“American lawmakers can take notes from their European counterparts, whom they often work closely with, and even if the U.S. doesn’t have the same laws, global tech products will possibly be made to fit European standards to appeal to the wider market,” he explained.
Artificial intelligence is a wide-ranging type of technology encompassing everything from voice-activated smartphones to devices that diagnose medical patients to banking software that decides on a loan.
It’s not easily defined and will evolve over time, which lawmakers will have to account for in potential laws, according to the report.
The technology, which in many cases is helpful, can also have negative consequences, according to the report.
“Harmful bias in AI systems can perpetuate or exacerbate historical inequities in areas such as employment, health care, finance, and housing, and malicious actors can use AI tools to manipulate people,” the report states.
And while many technology policy initiatives lag behind the creation of entire economic engines like social media, now — early in its adoption — is a great time for lawmakers to pay attention to how policy could help shape the technology, according to the report.
“AI is a fast-moving technology and public policy is something that’s usually slow to catch up,” Soroushian said. “But policy can help address many of the issues people have to help companies get ahead of them.”
So far, the European Union and the United States have differed in their approaches to regulation with Europe taking a more hands-on approach in this early stage.
“The European Commission has made it a priority to create a regulatory framework that would prevent and minimize AI’s negative effects. The United States, by contrast, has focused less on regulation and more on ‘soft law’ approaches, such as guidelines, standards, and frameworks, complemented by tort and other existing laws (such as civil rights laws) to help hold people liable when harm occurs,” according to the report.
The European policy model is also fairly subjective as a “risk-based” approach that sorts the level of regulatory scrutiny or all-out ban based on the risk.
“And there’s debate on what the risk is,” Soroushian said.
That’s why the proposed law is still pending after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced she wanted to tackle AI regulations in 2019 after being elected. It was part of her first 100 days agenda to propose legislation on the issue.
At the end of her first 100 days, there was only a white paper exploring policy options. The draft legislation wouldn’t come out until 2021.
Europe is writing this AI law at the same time the union is proposing data privacy laws. The two intersect because data is key to AI technology, according to the report.
And American lawmakers are currently contemplating the first potential online data privacy law that would protect every resident; what is in that law will likely impact AI systems.
“Data is a key source for many modern AI systems, they are very reliant on data, so the kinds of data they can collect will affect how they are used. And it will create some kind of guardrails for that,” Soroushian said.
There are no specific recommendations in this report. Instead, the Bipartisan Policy Center is focusing on educating people on these issues, Soroushian said.
Taking note of what the EU and other countries are doing about AI will be important for American lawmakers to ascertain some of the best ways to implement legislation, he said. Other laws across the globe will likely impact the types of technology American consumers have access to, he added.
“The European Union has been doing a lot in this space, and the U.S. policymakers should be aware of this,” Soroushian said.
Madeline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ByMadelineHughes
In The News
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Despite all the descriptors you could put in front of his name — astrophysicist, director of... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Despite all the descriptors you could put in front of his name — astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, graduate of Harvard, with a Ph.D. from Columbia, author and celebrated scientist, TV star — Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson had... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It almost seems here in Washington that the debate over energy, over the future of fossil... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It almost seems here in Washington that the debate over energy, over the future of fossil fuels versus renewables, never changes. Most everyone these days will advocate for an “all of the above” solution to meet the nation’s future energy needs and... Read More
RAVENSWOOD, W. Va. — Like a lot of communities in America’s heartland, Jackson County, West Virginia, was built on natural... Read More
RAVENSWOOD, W. Va. — Like a lot of communities in America’s heartland, Jackson County, West Virginia, was built on natural resources. Timber and energy wrought from the ground helped sustain and grow its population, and the arrival of manufacturing in the mid-1950s — in the guise... Read More
WASHINGTON — The chief executive of social media app and website TikTok endured five hours of withering accusations in Congress... Read More
WASHINGTON — The chief executive of social media app and website TikTok endured five hours of withering accusations in Congress Thursday that his company acted as the alter ego of the Chinese government and failed to protect children from harmful video content. Several times the lawmakers... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It’s not a conference so much as a dream factory that’s transpiring through Friday on the... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It’s not a conference so much as a dream factory that’s transpiring through Friday on the shores of the Potomac River. Now in its 13th year, the ARPA-E Innovation Summit is a three-day program of lectures, networking events and exhibition hall displays... Read More
WASHINGTON — GPT-4 has just been released, and the fact that this technology can do many things humans can —... Read More
WASHINGTON — GPT-4 has just been released, and the fact that this technology can do many things humans can — like produce natural-sounding text, process images and even solve problems — has workers worried. Some companies and individuals are embracing the potential of new technologies, but... Read More