European Commission Thierry Breton recently held discussions with tech executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sam Altman, during which they expressed their support for government regulation and oversight of artificial intelligence (AI). Breton stated that he and Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms, were in agreement regarding the EU’s proposed regulation of AI, which is currently in the final stages of negotiation. The executives supported the bloc’s risk-based approach and measures like watermarking.
Support for EU’s Approach
Altman, CEO of OpenAI, also expressed his agreement with the EU’s approach to AI regulation, stating that he appreciated the European institution’s foresight in taking the issue seriously for the rest of the world. OpenAI developed the popular chatbot ChatGPT, which has generated significant interest in the possibilities of generative AI, the technology that produces text or images in response to a user’s prompts. Altman expressed a willingness to work collaboratively with the European market to offer a European service in compliance with the region’s regulations.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, also expressed support for the objectives of the AI Pact and recognized the importance of tech companies being transparent about their AI development and engaging collaboratively across the industry, governments, and civil society.
Company Stress Test
During Breton’s visit to Meta, he stated that the company appeared to be well-prepared to meet Europe’s new strict content moderation rules and would undergo a stress test of its systems next month. Zuckerberg agreed to a test in mid-July to assess how the company handles content moderation rules. Meta has approximately 1,000 employees working on Digital Services Act (DSA) implementation. Zuckerberg was also interested in a future test of how the company’s platforms would handle upcoming competition rules set out by the EU’s Digital Markets Act.
Breton also urged Zuckerberg to increase resources fighting disinformation, particularly Russian disinformation in Eastern European countries about the war in Ukraine. The two also discussed a report from the Wall Street Journal about child predators targeting kids on Meta’s Instagram photo-sharing site. Clegg called the conversation “constructive” and invited Breton’s team to their Dublin campus to see how they were stress-testing their processes ahead of implementation.
Overall, the discussions between Breton and the tech executives highlighted a shared interest in government regulation and oversight of AI. The executives expressed support for the EU’s risk-based approach and transparency in AI development. Companies like Meta are also willing to undergo stress tests to ensure compliance with new regulations. While there are still details to be worked out, the conversations between Breton and the tech executives indicate a willingness to work collaboratively towards responsible AI development and implementation.