EU and Google to develop voluntary AI pact ahead of new rules

European Commission internal market chief Thierry Breton. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Foo Yun Chee

Google and the European Commission aim to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) pact involving European and non-European companies ahead of rules to govern the technology, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said yesterday.

Mr Breton had earlier met Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai in Brussels.

“Sundar and I agreed that we cannot afford to wait until AI regulation actually becomes applicable, and to work together with all AI developers to already develop an AI pact on a voluntary basis ahead of the legal deadline,” Mr Breton said in a statement after the meeting.

He also urged EU countries and EU lawmakers to finalise details of the Commission’s proposed AI rules before the end of the year. Both groups have yet to start negotiations to iron out their differences.

It comes after the EU and the United States said that they plan to step up cooperation on artificial intelligence to establish minimum standards before legislation enters force.

The European Union’s AI Act could be the world’s first comprehensive legislation governing the technology, with new rules on facial recognition and biometric surveillance, but EU governments and lawmakers still need to agree a common text.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager told a briefing that the process might be completed by the end of the year.

Ms Vestager said that this would include generative AI algorithms such as ChatGPT.