EU AI Act briefing

Sat 09 December 2023

Some quick notes on the EU's AI Act. These were written the morning after so I might update them as more details emerge.

  • The whole thing is premised on a risk-based approach(1)
  • This is a departure from GDPR, which is rights-based with actionable rights
  • Therefore it's a huge victory for industry(2)
  • It's basically a product safety regulation that regulates putting AI on the market
  • The intention is to promote the uptake of AI without restraining 'innovation'(3)
  • Any actual red lines were dumped a long time ago
  • The 'negotiation theatre' was based on how to regulate gen AI ('foundation models') and on national security carve-outs
  • People focusing on foundation models were the usual AI suspects
  • People pushing back on biometrics etc were civil society & rights groups
  • The weird references in the reports to numbers like '10~23' refer to the classification of large models based on flops(4)
  • Most of the contents of the Act amount to some form of self-regulation, with added EU bureaucracy on top(5)

  1. Ironically, an epistemology of 'risk' is one of the key things that makes predictive AI so harmful 

  2. h/t to Daniel Leufer for clarity on this 

  3. Innovation as in 'shock doctrine' 

  4. No doubt swapping these numbers makes eurocrats feel cool & nerdy 

  5. IMO the EU itself, as an institution that constructs the conditions for mass deaths at its borders, is itself a 'high risk model'