EU risks going too far, too soon on AI regulation, says Irish trade minister

The European Union is at risk of going too far, too soon when it comes to regulating artificial intelligence, according to Ireland's trade minister.

Simon Coveney was speaking at Euronews' International AI summit where he said that the EU’s law on the burgeoning technology is at danger of rushing headfirst into unnecessary regulation.

“We need to be careful here. This isn’t just about getting this done in time. It’s also more important that it’s done well," the Irish minister told the conference audience.

"And I think the danger here is that we try to do too much perhaps, and we find that the definitions and the guardrails that we’re putting in place perhaps are out of date within months, never mind years.

"But I think it would be a mistake to try to do too much too quickly in the context of a technology that’s evolving at such a pace.”

Fears of over-regulating of AI

The EU is currently in the process of finalising its own AI Act, with negotiations between the bloc’s institutions ongoing.

An agreement is expected before the end of the year, but not everyone in the industry is happy with the scope of the law.

At the summit in Brussels, industry representatives frequently said the EU could be over-regulating artificial intelligence.

European Commission Vice-President, Věra Jourová, who gave a keynote speech at the event, told Euronews that this is simply not the case.

"I would not assist with something that would be considered over-regulation because I believe that we need regulation of AI," the Commissioner said.

"Many more people speak everyday about that and I know the opinion several years ago, maybe last year still saying, let’s wait and see how the technologies will develop and then to react, and it has always been like that, that the law was much slower than the development of the technologies.

"But I think that now we know quite a lot about the potential possible risks stemming from some of the AI parts or technologies and that’s why we are coming with a piece of legislation, the AI Act, which in my view is proportionate and necessary."

The summit, which brought together participants from across the AI world discussed some of the most contentious issues surrounding the nascent technology, including the use of facial recognition technology.

The European Parliament wants strict rules on its use, whereas EU governments want exemptions for law enforcement.