EU eyes AI regulation. Here's what it could mean

AI is an increasingly ubiquitous technology across the globe

The European Union took a big step toward greater regulation of artificial intelligence with the publication of the European Commission's AI White Paper on Wednesday.

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The European Commission envisions greater certification and testing of AI systems in high-risk scenarios like health care, law enforcement and transport. Limits on facial recognition technology are at the forefront of the discussion.

"This is a very simple question, because we do it just the same way with for example cars or chemicals, or cosmetics, or toys," Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday. "They have to be tested and certified before they enter the Single Market."

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"To create these European Union data spaces and cloud infrastructure, we want to trigger investments of [4 to 6 billion euros]. The value of the data economy is enormous," von der Leyen said.

AI is an increasingly ubiquitous technology across the globe, and President Trump's proposed fiscal 2021 budget would double nondefense AI spending.

Europe's focus on regulating tech comes after France agreed to delay imposing a 3 percent tax on digital revenue generated by large tech companies, including American giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, is greeted by European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

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AI regulation would impact these American companies' operations in Europe as well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met top EU officials on a visit to Brussels on Monday. Zuckerberg's visit came as the company warned that potential regulation risked stifling innovation.

Zuckerberg met Margrethe Vestager, the EU's powerful executive vice president in charge of making Europe “fit for the digital age.”

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Top White House tech adviser Michael Kratsios said his office looked forward to "reviewing the EU’s AI White Paper and continuing to engage with European leaders on AI governance and regulation."

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos addresses the audience during a keynote session at the Amazon Re:MARS conference on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 6, 2019. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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"We encourage the EU to follow America’s lead and pursue an innovation friendly, values-based approach to AI regulation, one which avoids over-burdensome, one-size-fits-all policies," Kratsios said in a statement. "The best way to counter authoritarian uses of AI is to ensure the U.S. and its allies remain leaders in innovation, advancing technology underpinned by our common values."

Kratsios and Vestager met in November to discuss U.S. and EU AI regulation.

FOX Business' Megan Henney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.