- The final wording of the European Union’s AI Act has been unanimously accepted by member states, a step Commissioner Thierry Breton hails as historic.
- The AI Act establishes a risk-based regulatory framework aimed at high-risk AI applications such as biometric surveillance and ChatGPT.
- Approval follows a political agreement achieved in December 2023, which will lead to legislative measures, including a vital vote by EU parliamentarians on February 13.
The European Union’s member states overwhelmingly approved the final wording of the EU’s AI Act, marking a key step toward regulating artificial intelligence (AI) across Europe. Thierry Breton, the EU’s Commissioner for the Internal Market, confirmed this outcome, hailing the Act as a historic and unprecedented move in the worldwide landscape of artificial intelligence legislation.
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The AI Act establishes a risk-based strategy for overseeing AI applications, focusing on high-risk areas such as the government’s use of AI in biometric surveillance, regulating AI systems, including those comparable to ChatGPT, and implementing transparency regulations before these technologies enter the market. This decision follows a political agreement made in December 2023, with following work to finish the wording for legislative approval.
Implications and Structure of the Regulatory Framework
The accord is the result of discussions that ended on February 2 with a “coreper” vote by the permanent representatives of all EU members. This action clears the way for the Act to move forward with the legislative process, which includes a vote in the European Parliament in March or April and a vote by a key EU lawmaker committee on February 13.
The AI Act’s methodology is predicated on the idea that developers have a greater degree of responsibility for riskier AI applications. This is especially pertinent to AI systems in crucial domains like hiring and admittance to schools. For A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, stressed that high-risk instances are the main emphasis in order to make sure that AI development and use are in line with EU norms and principles.
The European Commission Enhances AI Through Fresh Initiatives
In order to gradually incorporate the new regulatory framework, several of the requirements of the AI Act are expected to go into force earlier than 2026. The European Commission is acting proactively to support the AI ecosystem inside the EU in addition to laying the regulatory foundation. This involves setting up an AI Office whose job it is to keep an eye on whether the Act is being followed, especially in the case of high-impact foundational models that present systemic vulnerabilities.
The Commission has also unveiled plans to support regional AI developers, such modernizing the EU supercomputer network. By improving generative AI model training capabilities, this will help Europe stay at the forefront of AI innovation while still upholding legal and ethical requirements.
This legislative achievement demonstrates the EU’s dedication to setting the standard for the ethical and responsible development of AI technologies. The EU hopes to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of basic rights and societal values by establishing a worldwide standard.
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