PRESS RELEASE 20 June 2023
AI AUSTRIA ON THE POSITION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON THE AI ACT: FOR SAVING OPEN SOURCE AND A CLEAR DEFINITION OF AI
Despite our welcoming of the fact that the adoption of the common position of the European Parliament on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) has now opened the floor for trilogue negotiations – which we hope that will be completed swiftly – we have identified the following crucial obstacles that will have a significant negative impact on the AI ecosystem.
We strongly urge the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to resolve the following key items to create an objective and balanced regulatory framework for a prosperous and future-proof AI ecosystem:
Saving open-source foundation models
The foreseen obligations for providers of foundation models (Art 28b AIA) do not distinguish between commercial and open source models. On the contrary, the obligations shall apply "regardless of whether it [foundation model] is provided as a standalone model [...], or provided under free and open source licences, [...]." We reject that open-source providers shall be subject to the same regulatory requirements as commercial providers. We call for open-source models to be objected only to reasonable technical, environmental and risk documentation, adequate data governance, as well as information on recommended and non-recommended purposes to assure transparency for potential downstream users. Open-source models are a significant chance for European players to evolve in the foundation model and generative AI space and contribute towards European AI supply chain sovereignty.
Creating legal certainty with an adequate definition of AI
Copying the OECD definition of AI is unsuitable for a legally binding regulation. The definition proposal does not focus on the core features that distinguish AI from other standard software (adaptability, simulation of human cognitive abilities). Hence, the definition automatically applies to all advanced software systems. Also, we note that AI systems are deterministic and hence there is no autonomy (!), but only adaptability. Last, we point out that a description of AI in the preamble is insufficient to narrow the scope of the extensive legal AI definition in the core text. We therefore call for a definition of AI that includes all regulatory elements in the legislative core text and is supplemented for specific AI characteristics.
AI Austria consequently calls for improvement of the above-mentioned crucial topics in the trilogue negotiations and appeals to the European legislators to create a proportionate, implementable and reasonable regulatory framework.
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About AI Austria
AI Austria is an independent think tank and sees itself as a platform for the exchange of ideas on artificial intelligence. Through targeted connection building, coordination and promotion of players from science, business, education and society, we aim to contribute to the targeted and sustainable application of AI in Austria and Europe.