Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedSeptember 29, 2023

AI Act: Regulate High-Risk Use Instead of Technology, EU Negotiators Told By Industry

Brussels, BELGIUM – As EU negotiators meet early next week to start hammering out a deal on the landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, a coalition of industry associations is calling on the co-legislators for a risk-based AI Act that does not stifle innovation.

In particular, the 15 associations urge the negotiators to ensure that any rules for general-purpose AI (GPAI) and foundation models only focus on regulating high-risk applications of these systems, and not on the underlying technology as such.

Led by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe), the groups representing AI developers, deployers, and users issued a joint statement today, reiterating their support for the Act’s overarching objective of promoting trust and innovation.

Yet, they are greatly concerned to see that the negotiating positions of the European Parliament and Member States mark a major departure from the AI Act’s original risk-based and technology-neutral approach, undermining Europe’s potential to develop and use AI.

Contrary to what some EU policymakers think, a sensible regulatory framework that promotes innovation can only be achieved by ensuring the new rules solely target high-risk applications of AI systems. Think, for example, of critical infrastructure or healthcare applications.

Applying stringent requirements to the basic building blocks, or cutting-edge technology as such, simply would create legislation that cannot stand the test of time, the associations caution. The same applies to banned practices, which need to be clearly targeted at specific cases of unacceptable use of technology.

In order to provide Europe’s thriving AI ecosystem with the legal certainty it needs, the AI Act has to avoid any duplication of existing legal requirements, such as copyright rules. Open source developers, deployers, and users should also be supported, with the final AI Act introducing workable rules and reducing red tape to a minimum.

The EU negotiators have set an ambitious agenda for these discussions, as they hope to strike a deal on Europe’s AI rulebook for the next decade within the next two months.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe’s Policy Manager, Boniface de Champris:

“These negotiations are a make-or-break moment for the EU’s ambition to create a forward-looking legislative framework that helps Europe to become a global leader in artificial intelligence.”

“Today’s joint industry statement sends a clear message to EU lawmakers: if the final AI Act departs from its original risk-based approach, Europe risks stifling innovation. We call on the co-legislators to strike the right balance between regulating AI and fostering its development.”