Artificial intelligence is already capable of many things, but in one discipline it surpasses itself: Nothing can scare it as well as scare people. Ever since ChatGPT demonstrated to the general public what voice programs are already capable of, new ideas for the use of artificial intelligence have been popping up everywhere – and fear is growing everywhere. The historian Yuval Noah Harari sees democracy in danger. Some developers of artificial intelligence are calling for a moratorium. Humanity, it seems, is playing with fire. Even the head of ChatGPT, Sam Altman, is already calling for rules for his business.

The EU does not allow itself to be told such a thing twice. She has been working on a piece of legislation for a long time. There is no question of opportunities. Rather, the paragraphs are intended to "counter the risks" and at the same time "enable Europe to play a leading role worldwide".

This way of thinking has become established in Brussels. Europeans are proud of their data protection regulation. According to popular perception, it has led companies worldwide to comply with European rules. This is how Europe sees itself: the others supply Europe with new technology, and Europe provides the others with new laws.

Europe can't always enforce its rules

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. Not even when it comes to data protection. To date, there are dozens of reputable American news websites that lock out Europeans. And then came ChatGPT. When regulators arrived in Italy, the service was quickly shut down. In the meantime it is running again, but it is already going on with Google. Its AI assistant is now offered for 180 countries, but not for the EU. The Google boss said: It just takes a little longer to comply with all the European laws.

The location is reminiscent of Streetview. At that time, Germany invented tough rules for Google to take pictures on streets. So Google left it at that. Germany remains a blank spot on the map, surrounded by countries that have been photographed through. In the meantime, even Eastern Anatolia is better supplied than this rich country, which would like to be at the forefront of progress.

Developing is better than regulating

Laws are not a coveted export commodity. If you are strong, you can impose your rules on others a few times. But each time you lag a little behind the others and weaken your own position, next time you can afford less. And what happens in China, Europe has no influence on that anyway. If you really want to define a new technology, you have to develop it. And for that you need: freedom.

Europe can certainly afford it. The fear of the demise of humanity is, to say the least, premature. Currently, artificial intelligence only answers when asked. She would not be able to make her own plans. Intellectually, it is still far from empowering itself anyway. And in the end, it only works as long as no one pulls the plug.

Even if some researchers who are convinced of their work like to believe in the progress of AI, it is not going so fast that the extinction of humanity is now imminent. That's not to say there aren't risks.

It's like any new tool: you can use it for evil, but also to defend against evil and for completely different, good things. "We are playing with fire," says the American economist and philosopher Tyler Cowen, and rightly so, as he adds: "Wasn't it all in all quite good that we continued with fire?"

Humanity will learn how to deal with artificial intelligence. But only if she allows herself to learn. A few basic rules need to be introduced. But apart from that, humanity needs space to try things out at the moment. And not a regulation that drives away the first harmless experiments.