30 November 2023

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Digital industry of Central and Eastern Europe appeals to EU for sound regulation on artificial intelligence

13 digital industry organizations from 8 Central Eastern European countries gathered in CEE Digital Coalition have jointly appealed to the European Commission for sound and cautious regulation of the AI, allowing further innovation and not stifling the potential of the region.

Consultations are underway on the EU's Artificial Intelligence Act. Europe set out to be the world's first region to adopt comprehensive regulations on the creation and use of AI systems and applications. The trilogue negotiations on the matter involve member states, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. Ten organizations from Central and Eastern European countries, gathered around the CEE Digital Coalition initiative have raised their concerns on the matter. Representatives of the digital industry have collectively called on the European Commission to introduce regulations cautiously.
- This is one of the most significant areas for the entire modern economy, says Michal Kanownik, president of the Digital Poland Association, one of the signatories of the letter. - Modern technologies should be subject to regulation, but a sound and reasonable one. Relevant regulation must on the one hand, effectively protect us from potential threats, but on the other hand, cannot put a top to innovation and stop us from unleashing the potential of our region. We need to remember that in many regions of the world similar solutions are not even considered at all. Over-regulation may lead to China or India making much better use of the economic opportunities brought by artificial intelligence – Michal Kanownik warns.

The current proposals are both unfair and inefficient?
We want to emphasize that we agree with the Commission's perspective on the development of AI technologies. We fully support the goal of increasing research and industrial capabilities while prioritizing the security and individual rights of European citizens. Nevertheless, we would like to propose recommendations aimed to prevent the regulatory framework from suppressing innovation’”- reads the letter issued by the CEE Digital Coalition. The joint industry statement features a proposal to reject asymmetric obligations for AI solution providers. The claim is that providers and their software should be treated in accordance and proportionally to the actual capabilities of a particular model (as would be demonstrated by independent tests), rather than by - for instance - the size of the provider or the number of users. The currently proposed provisions focus on irrelevant elements, which unfairly diminish the chances of the most efficient providers, simultaneously making it easier to overlook potential risks in smaller, less recognizable models and systems.

Clear regulatory environment is necessary
Signatory organizations also point out that prohibitions on the developing of specific software should cover only exceptional, well-defined cases. According to them, imposing overly extensive bans could impede the development of advantageous technologies.

The letter also includes a firm suggestion for the Commission to reject the European Parliament's proposal to recognize artificial intelligence used in recommendation systems by large online platforms as high risk. “The Digital Services Act already requires these platforms to conduct comprehensive risk assessments that include artificial intelligence in recommendation systems. Introducing additional risk assessments under the Artificial Intelligence Act would be inconsistent and impose unnecessary burdens” – the letter reads. ‘The most beneficial use of this breakthrough technology depends on a friendly regulatory landscape that needs to be clear and predictable’ – signatories conclude.

The CEE Digital Coalition was established over three years ago upon the initiative of the Digital Poland Association. It brings together digital organizations from the Three Seas Initiative’s countries and Ukraine. Its main goal is to accelerate the digital transformation of the economy and society in the CEE region, as well as to take on the opportunities presented to the entire region by digital technologies.