Europe Blunders on AI


Europe Blunders on AI

March 22, 2024

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This piece originally appeared in City Journal.

On March 13, the European Union passed the world’s first comprehensive law for regulating artificial intelligence. Many are touting the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act as a landmark win for ensuring “safe” and “human-centric” AI, and efforts are now afoot to promote the framework as a model for other nations. 

The new law establishes a “risk-based approach” for regulating the deployment of AI systems within four tiers of risk: minimal, limited, high, and unacceptable. This framework seems sensible enough at first glance, until one takes a closer look at what falls into these categories. In fact, while the law is expansive in scope and aggressive in application, it does surprisingly little to address the most catastrophic forms of AI risk and focuses instead on the so-called equity issues of bias and discrimination.

“High risk” use cases, for instance, include the use of AI in areas like credit scoring, education, résumé filtering, and human resources, lumping together mundane applications that could amplify “discriminatory outcomes” with sectors, such as medical devices and critical infrastructure, where a flawed AI system could be literally fatal.

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