Europe moving toward innovative AI regulations, following MPs’ vote

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Europe moving toward innovative AI regulations, following MPs' vote
Europe moving toward innovative AI regulations, following MPs' vote

EU lawmakers accepted a provisional agreement for artificial intelligence (AI), a technology whose use is rapidly rising across a wide range of industries and in everyday life

EU lawmakers approved a provisional accord for artificial intelligence (AI), a technology whose use is quickly increasing across a wide range of businesses and in everyday life, on Wednesday,

The AI Act, which has been in the works for three years, comes as generative AI systems like Microsoft-backed (MSFT.O), opens new tab OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and Google’s (GOOGL.O), opens new tab chatbot Gemini gain popularity, raising concerns about disinformation and fake news.

The legislation will apply to high-impact, general-purpose AI models as well as high-risk AI systems, which must adhere to special transparency responsibilities and EU copyright regulations.

It limits governments’ use of real-time biometric surveillance in public places to specific crimes, the prevention of true dangers, such as terrorist attacks, and the search for those accused of the most serious offenses.

“I appreciate the European Parliament’s overwhelming backing for the EU AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive, legally mandated framework for trustworthy AI. “Europe is now a global standard-setter in trustworthy AI,” EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton stated.

A total of 523 EU parliamentarians voted in favor of the deal, 46 against it, and 49 abstained.

EU countries are scheduled to give their formal support to the pact in May, with the legislation expected to enter into force early next year and apply in 2026. However, several of the elements will kick in earlier.

Patrick Van Eecke, a partner at the legal firm Cooley, believes Brussels may have set the standard for the rest of the world.

“The European Union now has the world’s first hardcoded artificial intelligence law. Other countries and areas will certainly utilize the AI Act as a model, just as they did with the GDPR,” he said, referring to the EU privacy policy.

However, he stated that the negative for businesses is significant red tape.

In December, the European Parliament and EU governments reached a preliminary agreement after nearly 40 hours of negotiations.

Companies face fines ranging from 7.5 million euros (1.5% of sales) to 35 million euros (7%) of global turnover, depending on the type of infraction.

The lobbying organization BusinessEurope raised concern about how the guidelines would be applied.

“The need for extensive secondary legislation and guidelines raises significant questions about legal certainty and the law’s interpretation in practice, which are crucial for investment decisions,” Markus J. Beyrer, its director-general, stated.

Amazon’s spokeswoman applauded the vote, saying, “We are committed to collaborating with the EU and industry to support the safe, secure, and responsible development of AI technology.” Amazon has begun rolling out a new AI assistant.

Meta Platforms (META.O), which opens a new tab, has warned against any policies that could hinder innovation.

“It is critical we don’t lose sight of AI’s huge potential to foster European innovation and enable competition, and openness is key here,” Marco Pancini, the chief executive of Meta, said.

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