— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on January 21, 2020, Tuesday.
The white paper on ai regulation is not scheduled to be released until the end of February, but some of its contents have been leaked in advance by several media outlets and have been widely discussed because of its controversial nature. According to the white paper, the EU's regulatory framework for artificial intelligence includes plans for a temporary ban on facial recognition technology, requiring it to be banned from public places for three to five years after the ban is formally introduced.
In the meantime, regulators can assess the impact of facial-recognition technology and specify risk management measures to further regulate the rules to prevent the technology from being abused by governments or private companies. In addition to face recognition technology, the white paper also covers five main aspects of the EU's ai regulation, including mandatory requirements for voluntary labelling for high-risk applications, security accountability and governance.
Like all new technologies, face recognition is a double-edged sword, so the proposed potential ban has sparked some controversy within tech companies.
On Monday, the financial times published an article signed by Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of alphabet, Google's parent company, under the headline: Why Google thinks we need to regulate AI. He said that companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. There is no question that ai needs to be regulated, this is a view he has repeatedly expressed on many different occasions.
CEO of Alphabet
On AI recognition, my message would be that it is an important area to be regulated, it is too critical not to do it, but I think it is important we are in the early days, it is important to build based on existing regulations
But brad Smith, Microsoft's President and chief legal officer, said a one-size-fits-all ban is too simple. He believes face recognition has many advantages, such as the fact that some NGOs are using it to help find missing children.
Beyond private companies, a potential new EU ban could affect government projects in some European countries. The German government, for example, is considering introducing automatic face recognition at 134 train stations and 14 airports. France also plans to create a legal framework that would allow the embedding of facial recognition technology in video surveillance systems. With the continuous development of face recognition technology and its huge market potential, the abuse of face recognition technology has attracted the attention of many regulatory authorities, and the trend of regulatory tightening has emerged.
In May last year, San Francisco became the first city in the world to ban facial recognition technology after passing a law banning government agencies from buying and using it.
Now, the EU white paper is also likely to have a major impact on the development of artificial intelligence and face recognition technology in Europe. We will keep an eye on this issue.