EU Artificial Intelligence Act

Artificial Intelligence Act approved by European Parliament

In a significant move towards regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI), the European Parliament has approved the Artificial Intelligence Act. The act, which was negotiated with member states in December 2023, aims to ensure safety, protect fundamental rights, and foster innovation in AI technologies.

The regulation, endorsed by a considerable majority of MEPs with 523 votes in favor, 46 against, and 49 abstentions, establishes clear guidelines for the development and deployment of AI systems in Europe.

Key Provisions of the AI Act

  1. Protection of Fundamental Rights: The Act aims to safeguard fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from high-risk AI applications while promoting innovation.
  2. Ban on Certain AI Applications: Certain AI applications deemed threatening to citizens’ rights are prohibited. These include biometric categorization systems based on sensitive characteristics, untargeted scraping of facial images for recognition databases, emotion recognition in workplaces and schools, social scoring, predictive policing based solely on profiling, and AI that manipulates human behavior or exploits vulnerabilities.
  3. Law Enforcement Exemptions: While biometric identification systems are generally prohibited for law enforcement, exceptions are allowed in narrowly defined situations, subject to strict safeguards such as judicial authorization.
  4. Obligations for High-Risk Systems: High-risk AI systems, posing significant potential harm to health, safety, fundamental rights, etc., must adhere to obligations including risk assessment and mitigation, transparency, accuracy, and human oversight. Citizens have the right to submit complaints about AI systems affecting their rights.
  5. Transparency Requirements: General-purpose AI systems must meet transparency requirements, including compliance with copyright law and publishing detailed training data summaries. Powerful AI models facing systemic risks will have additional evaluation and reporting requirements.
  6. Support for Innovation and SMEs: Regulatory sandboxes and real-world testing will be established to support SMEs and startups in developing innovative AI solutions before market placement.

Quotes from Stakeholders

Brando Benifei, co-rapporteur from the Internal Market Committee, emphasized the significance of the law in banning unacceptable AI practices and protecting workers’ and citizens’ rights. Dragos Tudorache, co-rapporteur from the Civil Liberties Committee, highlighted the need for continued efforts beyond the AI Act to address the broader societal impacts of AI.

Next Steps and Background

The AI Act is subject to final checks and expected adoption before the end of the legislative term. It will enter into force gradually over 24 months, with certain provisions taking effect sooner. The Act aligns with proposals from the Conference on the Future of Europe, reflecting citizens’ concerns regarding competitiveness, societal safety, innovation promotion, and responsible AI use.

The passage of the Artificial Intelligence Act marks a significant step towards regulating AI in Europe, balancing innovation with the protection of fundamental rights and societal values.

Source: Webite European Parliament