A group of 12 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for a summit to be held by EU leaders to address the development of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The MEPs, who are all working on EU legislation related to the technology, have urged US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to convene the meeting, citing concerns that AI firms are developing at a faster rate than anticipated and need to be more responsible.
Their statement comes just weeks after Twitter owner Elon Musk and over 1,000 other technology figures demanded a six-month pause in the development of AI systems more powerful than Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s latest iteration of ChatGPT, which can mimic humans and generate text and images based on prompts. The open letter, published in March by the Future of Life Institute, warned that AI could spread misinformation at an unprecedented rate and that machines could “outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace” humans if left unchecked.
The MEPs have stated that they disagree with some of the more alarmist statements in the Future Life message, but are in agreement with its core message. They have called for significant political action to address the rapid evolution of powerful AI.
The letter also urged democratic and “non-democratic” countries to reflect on potential systems of governance and to exercise restraint in their pursuit of very powerful AI. China’s cyberspace regulator recently unveiled draft measures for managing generative AI services, stating that it wants firms to submit security assessments to authorities before launching their offerings to the public.
The Biden administration has also been seeking public comments on potential accountability measures for AI systems amid concerns about their impact on national security and education. The European Commission proposed the draft rules for an AI Act almost two years ago, under which AI tools are expected to be classified according to their perceived level of risk, from low to unacceptable. A parliamentary committee is currently debating the 108-page bill and hoping to reach a common position by April 26, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
In light of these developments, the MEPs’ call for a summit to address the development of advanced AI systems is both timely and necessary. The rapid evolution of AI has the potential to transform society in unprecedented ways, and it is essential that policymakers take a proactive approach to ensure that these technologies are developed in a responsible and ethical manner.
At the same time, it is important to recognize the potential benefits that AI can bring, from improving healthcare outcomes to enhancing scientific research. The challenge for policymakers is to strike a balance between promoting innovation and ensuring that the risks associated with AI are properly managed.
This requires a multi-stakeholder approach that brings together policymakers, industry leaders, academics, and civil society organizations to develop a comprehensive framework for the development and deployment of AI. Such a framework should be based on principles such as transparency, accountability, and human rights, and should be designed to promote innovation while also protecting against the negative impacts of AI.
Ultimately, the development of AI is a global issue that requires a coordinated response from policymakers around the world. By convening a summit to address these issues, EU leaders can help to ensure that the development of AI is guided by a shared vision of responsible innovation that benefits society as a whole.