EU, US push for ‘global AI code of conduct’ by year-end, Vestager says

05 June 2023 16:20 by Matthew Newman


The EU and the US have a “sense of urgency” to develop a code of conduct on artificial intelligence by the end of the year given the speed of the technology’s development, EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager said today.

Vestager, who last week announced the joint EU and US push for an AI code of conduct that countries around the world could sign up to ahead of establishing longer-term legislation, told journalists that leaders’ ambition is to be “as fast as possible.”

The push to develop “guardrails” for generative AI comes as ChatGPT has grabbed leaders’ attention because of its potential benefits to productivity, but also its societal risks.

The scramble to get more countries onboard to a voluntary code through the "Hiroshima AI Process" — an effort to set common rules to govern AI announced at last month’s G7 meeting in Japan — comes as the EU closes in on approving its AI Act.

“The timeframe within the G7 format is very short. But it would be even better if we could be even faster than the G7 time,” Vestager told journalists at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.

The European Parliament will vote on the draft bill in mid-June, setting off end-game talks with EU governments that are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Vestager, who will be part of the negotiations when the AI Act starts trilogue negotiations between governments and the European Parliament, said that the talks on the code of conduct would inform the legislative process.

“If we can keep the momentum, then we may actually also have something that happens,” she said. “I have a lot of faith in the AI Act . . . but it will only have legislative effects in 2026. So this is why we work with this as a matter of urgency. We all try to do what our leaders tell us — so at the latest by the end of this year.”

The EU is also developing an AI Pact, in which companies will voluntarily agree to abide by the bill’s provision before it legal takes effect. This initiative was announced last month by EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton.

When asked whether there is competition between commissioners on “who owns the narrative” on a hot tech topic, Vestager — who is charge of competition policy — said, “Well, no surprise, I think competition is good. It keeps everyone on their toes in order to do the best that they can.”

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