The EU has been warned that it risks handing control of artificial intelligence to US tech firms if it does not act to protect grassroots research in its forthcoming AI bill. From a report:

In an open letter coordinated by the German research group Laion, or Large-scale AI Open Network, the European parliament was told that “one-size-fits-all” rules risked eliminating open research and development. “Rules that require a researcher or developer to monitor or control downstream use could make it impossible to release open-source AI in Europe,” which would “entrench large firms” and “hamper efforts to improve transparency, reduce competition, limit academic freedom, and drive investment in AI overseas,” the letter says.

It adds: “Europe cannot afford to lose AI sovereignty. Eliminating open-source R&D will leave the European scientific community and economy critically dependent on a handful of foreign and proprietary firms for essential AI infrastructure.” The largest AI efforts, by companies such as OpenAI and Google, are heavily controlled by their creators. It is impossible to download the model behind ChatGPT, for instance, and the paid-for access that OpenAI provides to customers comes with a number of restrictions, legal and technical, on how it can be used. By contrast, open-source AI efforts involve creating an AI model and then releasing it for anyone to use, improve or adapt as they see fit.