Beware the EU’s AI Regulations

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session about Artificial Intelligence Act during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on June 14, 2023.

Beware the EU’s AI Regulations

Developments in artificial intelligence have brought us to the verge of a technological revolution—for better or worse. Some argue that uncontrolled AI could lead to the extinction of humanity. Others believe excessive regulations could stifle progress. Nonetheless, companies and nations are racing to capitalize on the developments. The European Union is drafting a law that may decide the rules of this race and perhaps even predetermine its winner.

In his international bestseller Life 3.0, Max Tegmark, mit physicist and founder of the Future of Life Institute, suggests that machines can exhibit artificial intelligence if they utilize extensive data and calculate independently the most effective means to accomplish a specific objective. The wider the scope of goals a machine can attain, the more “general” or human-like its intelligence becomes, hence the term artificial general intelligence.

The EU defines AI systems as “software that … can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, generate outputs such as content, predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing the environments they interact with.”

As AI applications become more broad, AI regulations promise to ensure that the developments are taking place in a controlled way.

In 2020, the Catholic Church called for AI regulations and ethical standards. Three years later, the EU AI Act has been hailed as the world’s first proposal of a comprehensive AI regulation. The regulation is designed to promote “human-centric and ethical development” and “to ensure that AI systems are overseen by people, are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly.”

The Future of Life Institute noted on its European site: “Like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (gdpr) in 2018, the EU AI Act could become a global standard.” On Wednesday, June 14, the European Parliament passed the draft law.

Like gdpr, the EU AI Act demands compliance from other countries and threatens fines for non-compliance. In May, the EU reported “the largest gdpr fine ever,” amounting to €1.2 billion (us$1.3 billion) against Meta, Facebook’s parent company. In addition to paying the fine, Meta was ordered to suspend the transfer of user data from the EU to the U.S. (For more information on gdpr, read “Germany Is Taking Control of the Internet.”) This law has also affected AI applications. For example, Italy temporarily banned Chatgpt for data violations.

“European Union lawmakers on Wednesday [June 14] took a key step toward setting unprecedented restrictions on how companies use artificial intelligence, putting Brussels on a collision course with American tech giants funneling billions of dollars into the technology,” wrote the Washington Post. “The threat posed by the legislation is so grave that OpenAI, the maker of Chatgpt, said it may be forced to pull out of Europe, depending on what is included in the final text.”

According to the EU law, AI systems will be regulated according to their assessed high or low risk. Those with high risk are “systems that could influence voters in elections or harm people’s health,” the Washington Post wrote. Some of these laws address serious issues; others could lead to overregulation and even ban any AI system that the government consider a threat to “democracy”—or its grip on power.

Then there are regulations that promote leftist policies. To be “non-discriminatory,” an AI system would have to prioritize diversity. To be environmentally friendly, an AI system would have to prioritize reducing CO2 emissions over profit. The countless regulations give opportunity for countless fines—and the opportunity for regulators to control the market. The regulations could even be used to gain a competitive advantage.

Take the 2015 Paris Agreement as an example. The agreement put strict regulations on industries; however, it gave China a free pass to ignore those regulations until 2030 and, therefore, an unfair advantage over U.S. competitors (read “The Deadly Climate Change Deception”). Even those subject to the same regulations can use them in an unfair way.

In 2017, the U.S. found German carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler AG, bmw, Audi and Porsche guilty of pursuing a coordinated strategy of misrepresenting emission results to make diesel cars more competitive at home and abroad. The U.S. government fined them heavily for this obvious infraction; the German government was lenient.

While the EU AI Act doesn’t “apply to AI systems developed or used exclusively for military purposes,” the European Parliament passed a resolution in 2018 calling for an international ban on “killer robots” or lethal autonomous weapons systems that are able to kill without human involvement.

In 2021, members of the European Parliament adopted “Guidelines for Military and Non-Military Use of Artificial Intelligence,” which called for AI to be “subject to human control …. The text calls on the EU to take a leading role in creating and promoting a global framework governing the military use of AI, alongside the [United Nations] and the international community.”

Killer drones that operate without human control would give a nation a massive advantage in the next war. The Brookings Institute said that such regulations would only make sense if other nations sign on to it, such as the international Non-Proliferation Treaty. The danger of such treaties, however, is that some may not follow the regulation, and you wouldn’t even know it.

Drawing on the insights of British computer scientist Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark describes bumblebee-sized drones capable of killing by strategically bypassing the skull and targeting the brain through the eye. The technology and material is easy to acquire. According to Tegmark, an AI application could also “easily be programmed to kill only people with a certain skin color or ethnicity.” Would “rogue nations, dictators and terrorist groups” follow the ethical rules of war if some treaty would regulate it?

Imagine if the very nation that proposed the regulation ended up breaking it. It would certainly take a most deceitful nation to come up with such a plan, but that’s exactly what the Bible warns against.

Nahum 3:1 warns of a nation that is “full of lies and robbery,” or “deceit and murder,” as it could read. A nation described as such should not be trusted. Ezekiel 23 warns America and Britain (the modern descendants of ancient Israel) against a cunningly devised betrayal from one of its “lovers.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry notes in Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany that these prophecies are about the very nation that currently leads the European Union: Germany.

Germany’s behavior in two world wars could be described as “full of deceit and murder.” But the Bible reveals that this chapter of mankind’s history is not yet closed. God wants Germany to use its wonderful qualities for good. However, due to the sins of our world, the Bible warns that God will allow unspeakable evils to engulf our world one more time. The book of Nahum forecasts that the German war machine will once again rise—before its war-making attitude will be forever destroyed.

There is wonderful news beyond these horrific scenarios. But we can only understand this great hope of tomorrow if we face reality today.