EU, US should push for AI code of conduct: EU tech chief

Lawmakers in the European Union are seeking to implement a code of conduct for the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) prior to their forthcoming EU AI Act. 

In a joint meeting of the EU-U.S Trade and Technology Council in Sweden on May 31, the EU tech chief Margrethe Vestager said officials in the United States and EU should push the AI industry to adopt a voluntary code of conduct within months.

According to Vestager, this would create safeguards while the new laws are still under development. She stressed that the new laws will take effect in two and a half to three years time in the “best of cases,” which is “obviously way too late.”

“We need to act now.”

Vestager is in charge of coordinating an EU strategy for data and approach to AI. She said if the EU and U.S. take the lead, they can create a code of conduct that would make everyone “more comfortable” with the trajectory of AI development.

“That is the kind of speed you need to discuss in the coming weeks, a few months, and of course also involve industry … in order for society to trust what is ongoing.”

The tech chief said lawmakers need to agree on specifics, rather than sweeping general statements. 

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Meanwhile, the EU’s AI Act, which will introduce comprehensive regulations for the technology, is still undergoing finalization by members of the European Parliament.

The most recent draft of the legislation included a ban on the public use of biometric surveillance and predictive policing tools. This is in addition to AI tools needing to be classified according to their perceived risk level, ranging from low to unacceptable.

On May 25, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, the company responsible for the AI chatbot ChatGPT, addressed EU lawmakers on over-regulation of the AI industry. 

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