An open letter signed by over 160 company executives has criticised the EU’s proposed artificial intelligence (AI) legislation as a hindrance to Europe’s innovation and competitiveness. 

The European Commission has been working on a set of guidelines to regulate the use of generative AI systems. 

OpenAI’s smash hit ChatGPT and Google’s Bard will be required to disclose any copyrighted materials used in the development of their systems.

The EU AI Act, which is currently in its final legislative stage, seeks to classify AI tools based on the level of risk they pose, ranging from minimal to unacceptable.

This categorisation will factor in potential concerns such as biometric surveillance, dissemination of misinformation, and use of discriminatory language.

In the open letter, executives warned that the legislation would make it harder for AI in the EU to compete with the rest of the world – noting that it could force some of them to develop their AI abroad. 

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By GlobalData

Signatures of the open letter included large-scale companies like Meta and Renault. 

It follows, and contradicts, a previous letter from industry heavyweights including Elon Musk and OpenAI’s Sam Altman calling for a halt in AI development. 

The previous letter was one of many that saw industry leaders call for tighter regulation of AI and claimed unregulated development could lead to a “risk of extinction”.

However, despite Sam Altman signing the letter which highlighted catastrophic risks, OpenAI is reported to have lobbied against the EU to not include ChatGPT in the “high-risk” category, according to a Time report.

The open letter comes as global investment in AI fell substantially last year.

The value of AI deals plummeted to $72.9bn in 2022, a dramatic drop from $127.2bn in 2021, according to research firm GlobalData.

Investment in AI had been on a mostly upward trajectory for the past decade. In 2013, deals in AI totalled just $1.6bn.