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World

EU unveils AI rules to temper Big Brother fears

  • The bloc is trying to learn the lessons after largely missing out on the internet revolution and failing to produce any major competitors to match the giants of Silicon Valley or their Chinese counterparts.
21 Apr 2021

BRUSSELS: The EU unveils a plan Wednesday to regulate the sprawling field of artificial intelligence, aimed at making Europe a leader in the new tech revolution while reassuring the public against "Big Brother"-like abuses.

"Whether it's precision farming in agriculture, more accurate medical diagnosis or safe autonomous driving -- artificial intelligence will open up new worlds for us. But this world also needs rules," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her state-of-the-union speech in September.

"We want a set of rules that puts people at the centre."

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, has been preparing the proposal for over a year and a debate involving the European Parliament and 27 member states is to go on for months more before a definitive text is in force.

The rules are part of the EU's effort to set the terms on AI and catch up with the US and China in a sector that spans from voice recognition to insurance and law enforcement.

The bloc is trying to learn the lessons after largely missing out on the internet revolution and failing to produce any major competitors to match the giants of Silicon Valley or their Chinese counterparts.

But there have been competing concerns over the plans from both big tech and civil liberties groups arguing that the EU is either overreaching or not going far enough.