EU and US Face Off Over Inclusion in Landmark International AI Accord

by | Jan 25, 2024

The race to dominate artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked a fierce struggle between the European Commission and the United States over including private companies in the world’s first international AI treaty. This high-stakes clash is happening amidst growing tensions, with both sides strongly advocating for their agendas. In this article, we present twenty key facts from the ongoing negotiations, shedding light on this monumental battle.

1. European Commission’s Need for Comprehensive Regulation:
Recognizing the urgent requirement for comprehensive regulation in AI, the European Commission insists that private companies must be part of the treaty. They argue that involving these entities is crucial for responsible and ethical AI development.

2. US Concerns About Impeded Innovation:
In contrast, the United States takes a different position, advocating to exclude the private sector. They fear that including private companies may hinder innovation and slow down economic growth.

3. Transparency Concerns:
The drafting process itself has become a significant point of disagreement. At the request of the United States, civil society organizations have been left out of discussions, raising concerns about the transparency and openness of the treaty’s development.

4. EU’s Stance on Private Sector Inclusion:
The European Commission firmly rejects excluding the private sector from the treaty, remaining committed to the AI Act, which establishes strict rules and regulations for AI systems within the EU. EU member states have also stressed the importance of a balanced approach, urging flexibility in determining the convention’s scope.

5. US Efforts to Exclude Private Companies:
President Biden has signed an executive order outlining a framework for federal agencies to safely and responsibly use AI tools. However, the US’s attempt to exclude private companies from the treaty has raised concerns among European allies.

6. EU’s Firm Response:
Aware of the United States’ influence in international organizations, the European Commission is prepared to challenge the US-led attempt to exempt the private sector from the treaty. They understand the potential consequences of such exclusions on the future governance of AI.

7. EU’s Updated Note:
As negotiations continue, the EU Commission has shared an updated note emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive scope for the convention. While they are open to considering a Party’s reservation to exempt itself from applying the convention to private actors, they insist on time limits to ensure inclusivity and accountability.

8. The Council of Europe’s Integral Role:
The Council of Europe, an international human rights body comprising 46 member countries, plays a crucial role in shaping the treaty. Consensus on the scope is expected to be reached during the upcoming plenary meeting, which will determine the fate of private companies’ inclusion in the AI treaty.

The battle for inclusion in the first international AI treaty continues. The European Union and the United States are engaged in a high-stakes negotiation with significant implications for the future of AI development and regulation. As the deadline for a final decision approaches, the world eagerly awaits the outcome that will shape the global landscape of AI governance and set a precedent for future international agreements.

In an era of rapid technological progress, finding a balance between innovation and ethical considerations is crucial. All eyes are on the European Union and the United States as they navigate the complexities of AI regulation, ultimately deciding who will have influence over the future of this transformative technology.