US and EU launch ‘first sweeping AI agreement’ to strengthen public services and emergency response

By on 01/02/2023 | Updated on 01/02/2023
Human hand touching centre of interface

The White House and the European Commission have signed an administrative agreement committing each to quickening progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) with the goal of improving agriculture, healthcare, climate forecasting and emergency response.

Described as “the first sweeping AI agreement between the United States and Europe” by a senior US administration official shortly before its announcement, the pact marks a change from previous agreements between the two parties, which have tended to focus on issues such as privacy.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said: “Based on common values and interests, EU and US researchers will join forces to develop societal applications of AI and will work with other international partners for a truly global impact.”

It is understood that AI modelling, which refers to machine learning algorithms that use data to make logical decisions, will form part of the agreement. By harnessing its potential, the hope is that governments on both sides of the Atlantic will be able to apply richer sources of data to their AI capabilities, making government operations and public services faster and more efficient.

Read more: AI in the public sector: an engine for innovation in government

The unnamed US official said that the “magic” of the agreement would be building joint models that do not require data to be moved from where it is stored. “The US data stays in the US and European data stays there, but we can build a model that talks to the European and the US data because the more data and the more diverse data, the better the model,” they said, as reported by Reuters.

Better data for better decisions

The US official added that another advantage of the agreement would be to improve electric grid management, with better access to diverse data prompting responses that prevent weather changes from forcing grids offline.

Separately, AI modelling has been recommended for other uses in the US. As reported by Global Government Forum last year, data scientists in the country have started exploring the ability of AI modelling techniques to predict the likelihood of civil unrest, for example.

The practice, known as ‘unrest prediction’, uses AI algorithms to anticipate political violence in a country based on historic, economic, and democratic data trends. With time, such methods are expected to be able to predict outbreaks of political violence, such as those which followed the attack on the US Capitol Building in 2021.

Read more: Can AI predict where government coups are coming next?

In September 2021, GGF also reported on the US National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, which was created to advise president Biden and federal agencies on AI research, ethics and development.

The European Commission, meanwhile, drafted a resolution in 2020 proposing to give humans ultimate powers to determine and overrule decisions made by AI and automated decision-making tools, particularly those made in areas such as healthcare, law and accounting.

The new agreement between the White House and European Commission was negotiated by the EU-US Trade and Technology Council, which launched in 2021 and serves as a permanent platform for transatlantic cooperation in areas including supply chain security and emerging technologies.

The US official said that other countries would be invited to join the partnership in the coming months.

Read more: US forms expert committee to advise on artificial intelligence

Want to write for GGF? We are always looking to hear from public and civil servants on the latest developments in their organisation – please get in touch below or email [email protected]

About Jack Aldane

Jack is a British journalist, cartoonist and podcaster. He graduated from Heythrop College London in 2009 with a BA in philosophy, before living and working in China for three years as a freelance reporter. After training in financial journalism at City University from 2013 to 2014, Jack worked at Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters before moving into editing magazines on global trade and development finance. Shortly after editing opinion writing for UnHerd, he joined the independent think tank ResPublica, where he led a media campaign to change the health and safety requirements around asbestos in UK public buildings. As host and producer of The Booking Club podcast – a conversation series featuring prominent authors and commentators at their favourite restaurants – Jack continues to engage today’s most distinguished thinkers on the biggest problems pertaining to ideology and power in the 21st century. He joined Global Government Forum as its Senior Staff Writer and Community Co-ordinator in 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *