Gathered in Sweden for the fourth edition of the Trade and Technology Council, the United States and the European Union pleaded on Wednesday for the rapid establishment of a voluntary "code of conduct" on artificial intelligence. The players in the sector would thus undertake to respect certain principles and guarantees in the development of their technologies. Such a device should see the light of day "in a few weeks", specified Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission, while Brussels is preparing legislation on artificial intelligence and facial recognition (AI Act), which, given its legislative process, would not take effect for two to three years. "It's obviously much too late", emphasizes Margrethe Vestager, in view of the "incredible acceleration" of the development of these applications, such as ChatGPT, from the company OpenAI, whose promoters she calls "responsible".
“It is important that we see that democracies can act”, she underlines, referring to an alliance on the subject with Canada, Japan or India. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agrees, citing "the dire urgency" to meet this challenge with other like-minded countries. The EU wishes to define, together with the United States, the standards imposed on this new technology.
The Trade and Technology Council (TTC), created in 2021, brings the two powers together twice a year to coordinate their trade policies and technology standards. It was then a question of trying to put an end to years of transatlantic friction, in particular under the Donald Trump era. Margrethe Vestager boasts of positive results, including the definition of a common standard on chargers for electric vehicles. "Our interests are aligned," said Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Antony Blinken praises a "remarkable convergence" of views between the two partners.
Behind these commitments, disagreements remain sharp between Americans and Europeans, in a context of growing geopolitical tensions and renewed protectionism. If Europeans had welcomed with relief the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House, who was full of declarations of friendship towards them, the reality remains that the slogan "America First" is more de rigueur than ever. . For months, Europe has been beefing up its response to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a law adopted in August 2022 by the American Administration aimed at subsidizing, with 369 billion dollars of public money, the companies involved in the climate transition.
Between the lines of these rivalries between Western allies is also their respective approach vis-à-vis China. Americans have recently moderated their rhetoric about the alleged economic "decoupling" with the Beijing regime. “None of us is looking for a new cold war or decoupling, but for a reduction of risk in our supply chains,” assures Antony Blinken, echoing rhetoric from Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.