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EU Commission President calls for draft AI regulations within 100 days


Written on 27 November 2019

New Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has today called for the EU to draft rules to regulate the use of artificial intelligence during her first 100 days.  She has compared this ambition to the introduction of the EU’s privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May, 2018.

She has also said that she wants to keep key technologies in Europe to bolster the EU’s technological standing in the world.  Two Osborne Clarke partners offer their initial thoughts on her plans:

John Buyers, head of AI and machine learning said:

“The challenges with AI – specifically deep learning – are its breadth of application across every walk of life, and the fact that it is not always transparent or predictable.  Beyond high level ethical principles, one-size-fits-all regulation sounds attractive but the complexity of different sectors will be difficult, if not impossible, to boil down into a single overarching law.  Designing effective regulation is challenging – the GDPR, for example, is an uneasy bedfellow with AI, generating significant compliance issues. We would like to see real engagement with relevant stakeholders to drive sector-focused debate on this issue before the EU commits to legislation.”

Simon Neill, head of the Competition team said:

“The desire to keep key technologies in Europe is part of a wider political shift towards protecting European champions.  This will require changes to merger control law and new foreign investment controls at the EU level, which would both have to go through the full legislative process – so, with the best will in the world, would probably take at least a couple of years to achieve”.

Read Ms von der Leyen’s agenda for Europe.

For more media commentary on this and related issues, or to speak to John or Simon, please contact Chris Bond or Katy Saunders.

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