Argentina Sets Itself Up as a Mecca for AI Deregulation

In an interview with the Financial Times, an Argentinian presidential advisor said the country wants to welcome AI companies with open arms.

Photo of Argentine President Javier Milei
Photo by Presidency of Armenia via CC BY-SA 3.0

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Don’t cry for AI, Argentina…

While Western economies scramble to regulate generative AI before it blows up the world, at least one country is telling Silicon Valley to take its best shot. Argentina wants to be to AI what Switzerland is to banking, only less fussy. In an interview with the Financial Times, an advisor to Argentinian President Javier Milei said the country wants to welcome AI companies with open arms and little legislative oversight. 

Regulation Stations

AI regulation is the newest chapter in the long saga of “reining in Big Tech.” The European Union is furthest ahead with its overarching AI Act, which is due to come into force this month. “This landmark law, the first of its kind in the world, addresses a global technological challenge that also creates opportunities for our societies and economies,” Belgium’s secretary of state for digitisation Mathieu Michel said in a statement. But aye, there’s the rub, in a global world what happens when countries don’t agree on how strictly to regulate this technology?

Argentina elected President Javier Milei, a fierce libertarian, at the end of last year. Demian Reidel, one of Milei’s economic advisors, told the FT that the government has already been busy courting AI companies:

  • Reidel said he’d set up meetings with OpenAI, Google, Apple, and Meta last month and that he’d specifically sold Argentina as a handy “hedge” against American and European regulation.
  • Reidel said Milei went to California to personally meet OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Elon Musk, who recently raised $6 billion for his AI firm xAI. Milei also met with venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Reidel said.

To what extent AI companies will be able to evade oversight will depend heavily on how individual countries or blocs draw up their own laws, the EU for example has a history of extracting concessions out of American tech giants.

Turbulent Times: While Milei may be trying to strike up an ideological rapport with Silicon Valley’s scions, his country could use an economic boost. Argentina has been battling mind-bogglingly high inflation, and only just got it down into single digits in April for the first time in six months with a rate of 8.8%. Milei has brought in some pretty drastic measures as president, slashing public spending with a machete, but his party does not have a majority in Congress so he hasn’t been able to push through all the plans he announced before the election, like his promise to abolish the Argentinian peso in favor of the US dollar.