Last Week in AI #127: EU and Chinese AI regulations, U.S. invests in AI research

Europe's proposed A.I. law could cost its economy $36 billion, think tank warns , China built the world's largest facial recognition system. Now, it's getting camera-shy, and more!

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Europe's proposed A.I. law could cost its economy $36 billion, think tank warns

In April 2021, the EU released a Draft Artificial Intelligence Act, which, according to the Center for Data Innovation (CDI), would be the “world’s most restrictive regulation of AI." While the Act represents a bold step forward in the world of AI regulation, experts have already pointed out a number of loopholes and potentially ineffective provisions. Furthermore, the Washington-based CDI says the Act could cost the EU economy 31 billion euros ($36 billion) over the next five years due to "compliance burdens" on European businesses.

The Commission disagrees and points out that to reach the figure, the report multiplies compliance costs with all AI investments as opposed to investment for high-risk AI applications. Some aspects of this sort of legislation engender empirical questions, but there are clear concerns about the Act that need to be addressed before it is pushed further.

China built the world's largest facial recognition system. Now, it's getting camera-shy.

Guo Bing, a law professor in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, has been at the center of a major legal case in China. In 2019 he bought an annual pass for a safari park in the city of Hangzhou, and was later informed that all passholders would be required to have their photo taken before entering. He thought it was unreasonable for the park to use facial recognition for entry to the park, and sued the zoo for breach of contract and violation of consumer rights. The case is widely acknowledged to be the first lawsuit over facial recognition in China, and has sparked a large amount of media attention.

Guo Bing won the case last year but appealed with the intent to receive a broader ruling that set a precedent for similar cases, which a court ruled in favor of last week. This ruling limits the ability of private businesses to use facial recognition, which has been increasingly pervasive in China. Because of the ruling, as of Aug. 1 hotels, shopping malls, airports and other commercial venues must get consent from customers to use facial recognition. Moreover, the use of the technology cannot exceed what is necessary, and companies must take measures to protect the data.

NSF partnerships expand National AI Research Institutes to 40 states

The National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled investments of $220 million in 11 new National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes. This new round of investments focuses on initiatives from human-AI collaboration, education, agriculture, and cyberinfrastructure. Current and existing investments reach institutes in 40 states in the U.S., and it plans to eventually expand to all 50 states.

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Australian Court Rules That Yes, AI Can Be an Inventor - "In what can only be considered a triumph for all robot-kind, this week, a federal court has ruled that an artificially intelligent machine can, in fact, be an inventor - a decision that came after a year's worth of legal battles across the globe."

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