The European Union is set to announce Wednesday sweeping new proposals regulating technology including artificial intelligence and data collection. The proposals could place a temporary ban on all facial recognition in public, create a single market for data throughout the entire EU, and ask for almost $22 billion to invest in A.I..
The new tech regulations have sent Silicon Valley executives, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai, to Brussels to lobby the EU’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in the last week.
While details of the plan have yet to be released, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has sought to confront “high-risk AI,” or its application in sectors like health care, policing, and transport since she took office in December.
Some tech executives, like Pichai, have expressed cautious support of the plans.
“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated,” Pichai said in a speech in Brussels last month. But he urged “a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities.”
Vestager said in a press briefing ahead of the announcement, that the commission’s plan “will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence” in Europe, but create an AI environment that looks different from that in the U.S. and China.
In a widely leaked European Commission white paper, officials called for Europe to “become a global leader in innovation in the data economy and its applications.”
In addition to releasing its plan to regulate AI, the EU is expected to also announce its European Data Strategy today. The purpose of the plan is to “explore how to make the most of the enormous value of non-personal data as an ever-expanding and reusable asset in the digital economy,” as per a statement from the EU.
After the plan is released, there will be a 12-week debate period, during which tech companies and European governments can weigh in on the initiatives.