EU vs US: Joining forces in the AI race

In an era where artificial intelligence reigns as a transformative force, the European Union and the United States stand as two influential powers, each charting their unique course through the complex landscape of AI regulation. Despite their common goals of enhancing AI's trustworthiness and fostering innovation, their approaches are quite different and are shaping the future of global AI governance. This transatlantic comparison invites us to dive into the contrasting strategies of the EU and the US, to understand the nuances, and to explore the critical steps necessary for alignment.

Divergences between the EU and the US on AI regulation

There are significant differences in how the two powers manage artificial intelligence and the associated risk. While the US has enhanced its AI landscape with investments in non-regulatory infrastructure and research, the European Union takes a more comprehensive posture.

Armed with tailored legislation for specific digital domains, the EU seeks to impose stringent requirements on high-risk AI applications, government use of AI, and AI-infused consumer products. With the AI Act, the European AI strategy aims to make the EU a world AI centre and ensure that AI is human-centric, transparent and trustworthy. The focus is to boost research and industrial capacity, while guaranteeing safety and fundamental rights. The EU and US are both implementing AI risk management policies. As a result, deepening the collaboration between these governments will ensure that these policies become synergistic pillars of global AI governance.

Room to improve

While both the EU and the US share a foundational commitment to a risk-based approach and principles of trustworthy AI, their regulatory landscapes reveal many differences, particularly concerning socioeconomic processes and online platforms. As we navigate these differences, the question of cooperation between the two powers becomes paramount for the global AI governance ecosystem.

Despite the differences across the Atlantic, much can be done to promote EU-US alignment while improving each country's AI governance regime. While the USA could execute federal agencies' AI regulatory plans to design strategic AI governance, for alignment between the EU and the US, it would be helpful if Europe creates more flexibility in the sectoral implementation of the AI Act, allowing future cooperation. The EU and the US could reach the next level by deepen their knowledge-sharing at various levels, including standards development, AI test environments, major public AI research projects and the development of an AI assurance ecosystem.

The first steps are already done

Collaboration between the EU and the US is a necessity to implement policies that will be fundamental to the democratic governance of AI. Important decisions are already taking place. On 27th of January 2023, the United States Department of State and the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) of the European Commission signed an “Administrative Arrangement on Artificial Intelligence for the Public Good”. This agreement aims to address global challenges for the public good in the fields of climate change, healthcare, energy and agriculture.

This union is built upon the principles expressed in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet and is an important step towards uniting these two powers. Europe and the USA must continue to join forces to harness the best of each AI-potency and boost the evolution of Artificial Intelligence.

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