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EU Lawmakers Approve Historic AI Regulation Act

Regulation | March 13, 2024

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EU Parliament Enacts First Major AI Regulation Globally

The European Parliament has approved the world's first comprehensive set of regulations to govern artificial intelligence (AI), setting a global standard for the ethical and safe development of AI technologies.  This pioneering legislation, known as the AI Act, categorizes AI systems based on their risk levels and introduces stringent controls to mitigate potential harms, aiming to balance innovation with citizen protection.

  • The legislation, endorsed by 523 votes in favor (46 against), reflects a strong consensus on the need for regulation. It was developed in response to citizens' proposals and aims to protect democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability while positioning Europe as a leader in ethical AI innovation.
  • The AI Act addresses a wide array of AI applications, imposing bans on systems that pose threats to citizens' rights, such as untargeted facial recognition and emotion recognition in schools and workplaces. It also sets clear obligations for high-risk AI systems in critical sectors, ensuring transparency, accuracy, and human oversight.

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  • Recent updates to the Act include provisions for generative AI models like ChatGPT, requiring developers to disclose training data summaries and comply with EU copyright laws. These models face additional scrutiny due to their potential systemic risks.
  • The AI Act is expected to serve as a model for other countries grappling with AI regulation. It will officially become law by mid-2024, with phased implementation for its various provisions. Each EU country will establish an AI watchdog for enforcement, with violations attracting fines up to €35 million or 7% of global revenue.

Dragos Tudorache, co-leader of the Parliament negotiations:

"The AI Act nudges the future of AI in a direction where humans are in control."

Brando Benifei, co-leader of Parliament's work on the law:

"This isn't Brussels' last word on AI rules. More AI-related legislation could be ahead."

Outlook

The EU's Artificial Intelligence Act is a huge step forward in the global discourse on technology regulation, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach that protects citizens while promoting innovation.

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As the first comprehensive legislation of its kind, it could inspire similar regulatory efforts worldwide, ensuring that AI development aligns with human rights, safety, and ethical standards. The Act's successful implementation will be closely watched as a potential blueprint for future technology governance, highlighting the EU's role as a leader in digital ethics and innovation.


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