New Regulations for Artificial Intelligence Approved by European Union

European Union lawmakers have approved a significant legislation known as the AI Act, which is the world’s first comprehensive regulation for artificial intelligence. The new law addresses the risks associated with AI’s rapid evolution, and sets up a regulatory framework to categorize AI uses based on their level of risk. High-risk applications are subject to stricter regulations.

Under the AI Act, practices deemed to be a clear threat to people’s safety, livelihoods, and rights are banned. It also introduces a risk-based approach, prohibiting the riskiest AI applications, including the exploitation of vulnerable groups and the use of biometrics for law enforcement purposes. Moreover, it places strict restrictions on facial recognition by law enforcement and governments, with potential fines of up to 7 percent of global sales for violating companies.

The European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola, described the law as a balanced and human-centered approach, expected to set the global standard for AI regulation. While the law still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, it is expected to pass.

The European Commissioner Thierry Breton celebrated the agreement as a historic milestone, emphasizing that the EU becomes the very first continent to set clear rules for AI use. He highlighted the AI Act as a launch pad for EU startups and researchers to lead the global AI race.

The rules will not take effect until 2025 at the earliest, providing room for technological evolution. The emergence of generative AI technologies and their mainstream impact on various sectors, including educators, artists, musicians, and the media, has accentuated the need for these comprehensive regulations.

In the United States, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in late October to support the responsible development of AI while protecting the public from its potential dangers. The order introduces new AI standards for safety, privacy protection, equity, and civil rights, aiming to boost innovation, competition, and U.S. leadership in the field.

Tech industry leaders have issued a warning about the potential existential threat posed by AI developments, comparing the risks to those of pandemics and nuclear weapons. Some Hollywood actors have also expressed concerns about AI’s impact on creativity and the entertainment industry. The Writers Guild of America, ending a strike in September, introduced regulations on AI use in Hollywood to ensure it does not affect writers’ rights and credits.

As AI continues to evolve and permeate various aspects of society, from art to governance, it is clear that comprehensive regulations and standards, similar to those introduced by the EU and the U.S., are essential to ensure the responsible and beneficial use of this powerful technology. These laws aim to strike a balance by fostering innovation and competition while prioritizing safety, privacy, and human rights in the development and deployment of AI.


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