Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission executive vice president focused on digital issues, said today she’s “really encouraged” by recent tech-sector actions taken by President Biden to create greater competition, and is hopeful emerging technologies such as AI will create a bigger public sector market.

Specifically, Vestager said she was encouraged by President Biden’s executive order released last week that aims to promote greater competition in the American economy.

“I find that this executive order, exactly puts a finger on something really important that people in their everyday life should have: the benefit of competition, of fair competition, having choice, affordable prices, knowing that the market actually serves them in their role as a consumer,” Vestager said today during a Washington Post Live event. “Also, I think that the debates, and some of them, of course bipartisan, in your democracy is showing the way… it shows a dedication to make sure that we get this open, competitive market to make the best of digital technology.”

Vestager has long been known as an advocate for competition in the technology space, especially when it comes to monitoring the influence of tech giants. Going forward, she hopes consumers can develop a deeper trust in emerging technologies such as AI.

In April, Vestager and the European Commission released a new proposal on AI, including rules and actions to develop ethical AI standards. The proposal encourages an international dialogue on AI, and states plans to continue working with the United States for the development of trustworthy AI, including the continuation of the U.S.-EU Information Society Dialogue.

“We have this proposal on artificial intelligence, and in the use cases where there is a risk of fundamental values being violated… there needs to be a check before it’s put on the market,” Vestager said today.

“I think that is one of the things that will create a much bigger sort of public sector market, because then you know, a mayor can safely say, ‘Oh, I will use this artificial intelligence, enabling a better service for people who need a social subsidy, and I don’t fear that this will turn sour because of bias between some citizens in my constituency,’” she said. “In that respect, I think regulation can create the necessary trust for us to fully embrace the many opportunities that digital technology brings us.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.