Strangulation or Regulation?

World’s first major act to regulate AI passed by European lawmakers
The European Union’s parliament on Wednesday approved the world’s first major set of regulatory ground rules to govern the mediatized artificial intelligence at the forefront of tech investment.

Oh boy:

The European Union's parliament on Wednesday endorsed the world's first major set of regulatory ground rules to govern the mediatized artificial intelligence at the forefront of tech investment.

The EU brokered provisional political consensus in early December, and it was then endorsed in the Parliament's Wednesday session, with 523 votes in favour, 46 against and 49 votes not cast.

"Europe is NOW a global standard-setter in AI," Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for internal market, wrote on X.

Two things can be true at the same time: Apple's App Store rules are comically out of date – I've been saying this for yearsand the EU's attempted regulation of such things is even more out of touch with reality.1 And so you'll forgive my skepticism that the body is going to properly regulate AI. A series of technologies which are not only nascent, but are moving so quickly that it's basically impossible to figure out how to invest in the space, let alone set rules to try to control it.

President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, described the act as trail-blazing, saying it would enable innovation, while safeguarding fundamental rights.

"Artificial intelligence is already very much part of our daily lives. Now, it will be part of our legislation too," she wrote in a social media post.

Lol, that quote. Sounds great! What can possibly go wrong?

I suspect we're going to find out! But actually, the way we'll primarily find out may be the sudden halt of any interesting AI work and startups coming out of European Union countries. Something which at least a few of them seemed worried about:

Some EU countries have previously advocated self-regulation over government-led curbs, amid concerns that stifling regulation could set hurdles in Europe's progress to compete with Chinese and American companies in the tech sector. Detractors have included Germany and France, which house some of Europe's promising AI startups.

This is all setting up to be like GDPR meets the DMA with the potential to be exponentially worse for the ecosystem because again, it's all so nascent. Are there things we need to be mindful about and worried about? Of course. But the likelihood that the government – let alone several governments bonded together by their love of headlines and general tech strangulation – is going to effectively do this is comical. I hope I'm wrong. But I'm not.

1 My main takeaway from the Apple vs. Regulation stuff is that Apple was stupid not to get ahead of all this more forcefully, because it was so obvious that it was coming. Whatever you think about the EU rules -- and Apple doesn't think much of them, clearly! -- they do hold actual power here. Apple has to play the game on the field. Or take their ball and go home, I guess! But this isn't just the EU either, of course, but all around the world.