Macron warns over excessive AI regulation

The European Union must avoid overly restrictive regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, French President Emmanuel Macron said over the weekend.

The 27-nation bloc has been working all year on its AI Act, with officials hoping for an agreement by the end of the year.

“Regulation must be controlled, not punitive, to preserve innovation,” Macron said of the EU’s efforts.

He told a start-up event in Paris via video message that the new law should “regulate the uses, rather than the technologies themselves”.

Policy makers around the world are wrestling with the challenges of how to regulate AI.

Firms like OpenAI, which makes ChatGPT, claim the technology will revolutionise lives with labour-saving devices and medical breakthroughs.

However, influential voices from within and outside the industry claim the nascent technology could wreak devastation if it is not properly controlled.

Friday’s event in Paris saw former Google CEO Eric Schmidt join with French billionaires Xavier Niel and Rodolphe Saade to launch an AI research laboratory.

The co-founders say they already have almost 300 million euros ($326 million) of investment for the non-profit lab, called Kyutai, which will follow the principles of “open science” by sharing its research.

The lab will develop new AI models and new algorithms as it aims to “tackle the main challenges of modern AI”, according to its mission statement.

Yann LeCun, head of Facebook’s artificial intelligence laboratory and often labelled a godfather of AI, will be on the scientific advisory board.