By:  The Economist

April 24, 2021

Most laws are local—except in the digital realm. When the European Union comes up with some new tech regulation, it can quickly spread around the world. Global companies adopt its typically strict rules for all their products and markets in order to avoid having to comply with multiple regimes. Other governments take more than one page from the eu’s rule book to help local firms compete. The textbook example for what has been dubbed the “Brussels effect”, is the eu’s General Data Protection Regulation (gdpr), which went into force in 2018 and swiftly became the global standard.

Small wonder, then, that all eyes were on Brussels when the European Commission on April 21st published proposed regulations on artificial intelligence (ai)—making it the first influential regulator to craft a big law on ai. Will these rules be as widely adopted as gdpr?