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EU: Commission President urges adoption of minimum global standards for AI in State of the Union address

The European Commission published, on September 13, 2023, President Ursula von der Leyen's 2023 State of the Union address, which discussed, among other things, the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence (AI). In particular, von der Leyen stated that, on account of the risks related to the use of AI, the EU, together with its partners, should lead the way on a new global framework for AI, which would be based on three pillars: guardrails, governance, and guiding innovation.


Regarding the first pillar, von der Leyen pointed out the need for AI to develop in a human-centric, transparent, and responsible manner. In this regard, the work being done on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) was highlighted. According to the President, the AI Act is already a blueprint for the world.


On the second pillar, von der Leyen detailed that a unified governance system is being established in Europe, with plans to collaborate globally to understand the impact of AI on society. Notably, the President suggested the creation of a global body for AI, akin to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), involving scientists, tech companies, and independent experts to coordinate responses.

Guiding innovation

Looking at the third pillar, the President encouraged innovation in a responsible way, highlighting the need for an open dialogue with those who develop and deploy AI. Drawing from the experience in the US, where some major tech companies have already agreed to voluntarily follow rules around safety, security, and trust, von der Leyen announced the plan to work with AI companies so that they would voluntarily commit to the principles of the AI Act before it comes into force. 

Von der Leyen concluded by urging to work towards minimum global standards for the safe and ethical use of AI.

You can read the address here.