Europe regulates itself in AI oblivion, offering huge opportunity for Britain’s Brexit Business

America innovates, China duplicates and Europe regulates. But where does Brexit Britain fit in this caricature of economic behavior?

As if to prove the point on Europe, along comes 108 pages of proposals from Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission official responsible for overseeing the EU’s digital policy, to regulate the emerging artificial intelligence industry. – or “strangling her at birth” As one interested observer put it caustically.

Mrs Vestager naturally does not agree; for her, it’s about moving Europe forward, setting standards that everyone must follow, and addressing public concerns about how smart machines work.

“When it comes to artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a good thing to have,” she says. “With these historic rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global standards to ensure that artificial intelligence is trustworthy.”

Although well-intentioned as its guarantees are, they are also another example of the economic handicap that Europe regularly applies to itself via the “precautionary principle” which governs its affairs. While the EU may protest otherwise, more attention is being paid to the risks of machine learning than to its opportunities.

Some forms of it, such as live facial recognition, should be banned outright, except for the use of national security, and others seem likely to be seriously hampered by the obsession. of the EU for the priorities of “security first” and “fundamental rights”. Already, the EU has some of the most extensive and arguably oppressive forms of data regulation in the world. He has also been at the forefront of attempts to suppress the power of big tech companies.

And they wonder why Europe has been so poor to spawn its own tech giants. Nothing like the Americans Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google, or the Chinese Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and Huawei, has yet emerged from the once flourishing inventiveness and diversity of the European continent.

Europhiles blame the still fragmented markets, cultures, legal systems and language differences, pledging to harmonize them all in pursuit of the critical mass of the American and Chinese models. Yet in doing so, they look back, not forward; rather than embrace the new one, they try to imprison him.

Once British influence is removed, these traits will likely become even more dominant, condemning Europe to the slow lane.

This is not to deny that there are risks. AI is inundated with ethics and market access issues. As it currently exists, it is almost entirely built around the collection of large amounts of personal data; by analyzing this information, machines are able to make decisions on their own, which raises multiple issues of confidentiality and morality.

Nor is anyone denying the broader challenges, including the threat to jobs and the possibility that by perpetuating and strengthening established ways of doing things, AI can actually hinder innovation, not advance it.

Nonetheless, the opportunity for Britain for regulatory divergence with Europe is obvious. The European response to AI is one of the deceptions – act first and ask questions later; a more agile, pragmatic and growth-friendly approach could be very beneficial. Let the market evolve as it wishes and address its less desirable consequences as we go.

There is no point in leaving the EU, if only to apply newly acquired freedoms simply reflecting what our close neighbors are doing. If that’s where we’re headed, we should have stayed and discussed the draw from a position of influence.

This is not a “race to the bottom” or any such nonsense; it’s about providing an environment in which businesses and businesses can thrive, by generating the productivity growth we once took for granted, but by reducing the risk our economies have somehow managed to lose.

There is already a model for the kind of approach the UK could take within the new independent medicines and health products regulatory agency. The rapid clearance of Covid injections has allowed the UK to spend months ahead of much of Europe in rolling out its vaccines, saving tens of thousands of lives and allowing the economy to gradually extricate itself lock.

The reason MHRA missed blood clotting side effects is that they were so rare that they did not show up in trials, only appearing after millions of people were vaccinated. Yet there is no doubt where the balance of the public good lies.

European regulators claim a justification, but at what cost for the economy and life in general? In this case, as in so many others, the precautionary principle has done more harm than good. A certain distrust is natural in the face of the new, but taken to the extreme, he becomes the enemy of progress.

The breakthrough potential of AI is most likely overestimated; For example, is it likely to be as transformative as electricity, the car, the plane or even the telephone? For my part, I will take some convincing. But there is little doubt about its economic and perhaps liberating promise; do not oppose it.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-23 05:00:00