In April 2021, the European Commission presented its AI package. This package consists of a Communication on Fostering a European Approach to Artificial Intelligence, the Coordinated Plan with Member States: 2021 Update, and a proposal for an AI Regulation laying down harmonised rules for the EU (Artificial Intelligence Act).
In this policy brief, firstly, the increasingly prominent role of AI technology in different fields and sectors is discussed with a specific focus on its potential from an economic point of view. Secondly, the current role of EU in the global race for artificial intelligence is explained through a comparative analysis of the three main players – the United States, China and the EU. The comparative analysis takes into consideration several factors such as the regulatory model, amount of private and public investment in the field, number of publications and AI patents registered.
Thirdly, the European regulatory framework on AI is briefly outlined by recalling and discussing the main milestones until 2020. Finally, the new Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) presented by the European Commission in April 2021 is explained and discussed. The proposal has been regarded as a first possible answer to the above-mentioned regulatory gap and, therefore, praised for its ambitious goal to regulate this new and fast-developing field. However, the AI Act has also raised several concerns. This part not only introduces the EC’s proposals for a regulation on AI, but it also presents and discusses its major critical points.
To conclude, the European and international debate around the EC proposal is briefly presented and the most recurrent opinions with regards to the EC proposal are briefly outlined.
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