Enthusiasts and business leaders have spent the weekend berating Brussels’ so-called “digital enforcer”, Thierry Breton, over the newly agreed EU deal to regulate AI.
After days of near non-stop trilogue debates on the issue, Eurocrats from the European Council, Commission and Parliament eventually agreed on how to regulate artificial intelligence on Friday evening, prompting celebrations from various EU-linked social media accounts.
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) December 8, 2023
Those in the public sector seemed far less pleased with the deal Breton spearheaded, which imposes blanket restrictions on numerous applications of AI models, while also adding restrictions for “foundation models” — the core of many AI platforms.
Some AI applications meanwhile have been banned altogether, with systems that are seen to “manipulate human behaviour” to be completely forbidden within the EU.
“The agreed AI Act imposes stringent obligations on developers of cutting-edge technologies that underpin many downstream systems, and is therefore likely to slow-down innovation in Europe,” the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) said in a statement seen by Brussels Signal.
The group went on to accuse Brussels of abandoning a “sensible risk-based approach” for the regulation, instead opting to impose blanket restrictions on the new technology.
Daniel Friedlaender, the group’s European Senior Vice President, warned that the economic results of the regulation could be “potentially disastrous” as a result, with the body’s European policy manager, Boniface de Champris, warning that the deal could chase away EU-founded tech companies.
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) December 4, 2023
The CCIA’s criticisms were among some of the more polite issued in the wake of the AI deal, with others in the industry opting to vent their frustrations in a less diplomatic fashion.
Europe’s so-called “digital enforcer”, Thierry Breton appeared to receive the brunt of the criticism, with the Commissioner’s posts celebrating the new agreement coming under fire online.
What an idiot, bragging about the damage he's done. https://t.co/cUrsHGUmvz
— Pedro Domingos (@pmddomingos) December 9, 2023
“What an idiot, bragging about the damage he’s done,” University of Washington computer science and engineering professor wrote online, slamming the EU as a whole for being a “luddite continent”.
High-profile crypto entrepreneur Jeremy Kauffman meanwhile said that he would “rather be ruled by Skynet than European regulators”, while another industry insider claimed that Breton “hate[s] tech and economic growth”, and that no one takes him seriously.
Meanwhile, pro-Brexit activists and former Boris Johnson aide Dominic Cummings seemed to celebrate the deal for vindicating the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“As Vote Leave predicted in the 2016 referendum, the EU is kneecapping itself and its citizens,” he said. “[A]nother Brexit win to be outside this clown-show.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen celebrated the AI regulation plan as making the EU safer.
“By guaranteeing the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, the Act will support the human-centric, transparent and responsible development, deployment and take-up of AI in the EU.”
Euro MPs want to regulate the music streaming market after complaining that not enough is done to promote diversity and European artists. https://t.co/93fKuAAkJw
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 29, 2023