In an effort to regulate technology for the first time ever, the EU Parliament passes the AI Act.


On Wednesday, the European Parliament passed the bloc’s AI Act, introducing a number of regulations for different AI products on the single market that are grouped according to risk and will gradually go into effect over the course of the following two years.

It aims to “protect fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from high-risk AI, while boosting innovation and establishing Europe as a leader in the field,” and it passed with a large majority of 523 votes in favor, 46 votes against, and 49 abstentions.

Before being formally approved by the European Council, the legislation—which is the first comprehensive framework for regulating the technology anywhere in the world—will undergo one more review by attorneys and linguists.

It divides AI systems into high-risk tools used in critical infrastructure and low-risk services like spam filters based on the possible harm they could do if they don’t function as planned or promised. Under the new rule, these systems would be forbidden, with the highest risk rating being designated as “unacceptable.”

Developers must be able to log the system’s activities and processes in order to ensure that its outputs can be traced in the event that they have an impact on something that may be contested later on, like an employment decision. This stricter governance regime applies to high-risk systems.

The AI Act’s protection of fundamental rights, which includes a ban on “biometric categorization systems based on sensitive characteristics and untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases,” will take effect six months after the law’s enactment.

The use of emotion recognition technology in the workplace and in educational institutions, social scoring, and other forms of predictive policing that rely on individual profiling will all be outlawed.

Law enforcement may employ real-time facial recognition technology “in exhaustively listed and narrowly defined situations,” whereby deployment duration and geographic scope are limited.Examples of such usage could be stopping a terrorist attack or conducting a focused search for a missing person. Post-facto usage of these systems is seen as a high-risk use case that necessitates legal authorization connected to a criminal offense.

The regulations pertaining to general-purpose AI and governance shall go into force one year and a day after the AI Act is published in the official journal of EU law. These put developers under pressure to adhere to copyright laws and transparency standards. They also make it necessary for developers to publish thorough summaries of the training materials they utilize.”We finally have the world’s first binding law on artificial intelligence, to reduce risks, create opportunities, combat discrimination, and bring transparency,” stated Brando Benifei, the co-rapporteur for the legislation for the European Parliament.

“The rights of workers and citizens will be safeguarded, and unacceptable AI practices will be outlawed in Europe thanks to the Parliament.” The AI Office will now be established to assist businesses in beginning to adhere to the regulations prior to their implementation. We made sure that the advancement of AI places people and European ideals front and center,” Benifei continued.The co-rapporteur on the effect of the Act on civil freedoms, Dragos Tudorache, stated: “The EU has delivered.” We have connected the idea of artificial intelligence to the core principles upon which our societies are built. Still, there is a lot of work to be done that extends beyond the AI Act.

“Artificial intelligence will force us to reconsider the fundamental social contract that underpins our democracies, as well as our approaches to education, employment, and warfare,” Tudorache continued. The AI Act serves as the foundation for a new governance framework centered on technology. The implementation of this law must now be our main priority.

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