The European Union said today that it wants to work with US counterparts on a common approach to tech governance — including pushing to standardize rules for applications of technologies like AI and pushing big tech to be more responsible for what their platforms amplify.
EU lawmakers are anticipating rebooted transatlantic relations under the incoming administration of president-elect Joe Biden.
The Commission has published a new EU-US agenda with the aim of encouraging what it bills as “global cooperation — based on our common values, interests and global influence” in a number of areas, from tackling the coronavirus pandemic to addressing climate change and furthering a Western geopolitical agenda.
Trade and tech policy is another major priority for the hoped for reboot of transatlantic relations, starting with an EU-US Summit in the first half of 2021.
Relations have of course been strained during the Trump era as the sitting US president has threatened the bloc with trade tariffs, berated European nations for not spending enough on defence to fulfil their Nato commitments and heavily implied he’d be a lot happier if the EU didn’t exist at all (including loudly supporting brexit).
The Commission agenda conveys a clear message that the bloc’s lawmakers are hopeful of a lot more joint working — toward common goals and interests — once the Biden administration takes office early next year.
Global AI standards?
On the tech front the Commission’s push is for alignment on governance.
“The EU and the US need to join forces as tech-allies to shape technologies, their use and their regulatory environment,” the Commission writes in the agenda. “Using our combined influence, a transatlantic technology space should form the backbone of a wider coalition of like-minded democracies with a shared vision on tech governance and a shared commitment to defend it.”
Among the proposals it’s floating is a “Transatlantic AI Agreement” — which it envisages as setting “a blueprint for regional and global standards aligned with our values”.
While the EU is working on a pan-EU framework to set rules for the use of “high risk” AIs, some US cities and…