Lawmakers in the European Union have approved the world’s first law to govern artificial intelligence. Find out more about the legislation and its implications for governments worldwide, which have yet to set rules for emerging technology.

March 14, 2024

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  • The European Union’s (EU) parliament passed the world’s first major regulations to govern artificial intelligence products and services.
  • The Artificial Intelligence Act categorizes AI products and services based on risk level and sets restrictions accordingly. It is expected to come into effect by May 2024.

Lawmakers in the European Union have passed the world’s first exhaustive artificial intelligence law, the Artificial Intelligence Act, five years after it was first introduced, with several negotiations. The new rules, which will likely come into force later this year, may provide governments worldwide with a framework to base their own rules.

The AI Act primarily operates on an approach that scrutinizes the level of risk an AI product or service poses to a user. The higher the risk level, the higher the level of scrutiny, and the higher the level of restrictions on it. Products such as AI-based spam filters and content recommendation models are expected to come under low-risk designations. However, AI applications in healthcare and critical infrastructure are expected to be designated as high-risk.

There are also provisions for AI applications that are completely prohibited and have an unacceptable risk level. This includes systems for social scoring, emotion recognition, biometric identification, and predictive policing. Violations of the Act could result in fines of up to 7% of the offending company’s global revenue.

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Furthermore, developers of generative AI models will have to provide exhaustive details about the text, video, image, and audio content sources used to train these AI models while complying with the EU’s copyright regulations. Content that has been influenced by AI should be labeled as such. Developers will also have to report any serious incidents associated with their products.

The regulations are expected to jumpstart similar regulations being implemented by governments worldwide. The Chinese government has proposed an AI governance initiative. In addition, U.S. President Biden has already signed an executive order on AI, and several states are working on their own regulations. Numerous countries in Asia and South America have also initiated proceedings to create AI safeguards.

Various provisions of the law are expected to go into effect in the coming months following the approval of member EU states. Each EU country is expected to set up its own AI regulator. Further legislation associated with artificial intelligence is expected to be implemented over the coming months and years, adapting to changes in AI applications.

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Anuj Mudaliar

Anuj Mudaliar is a content development professional with a keen interest in emerging technologies, particularly advances in AI. As a tech editor for Spiceworks, Anuj covers many topics, including cloud, cybersecurity, emerging tech innovation, AI, and hardware. When not at work, he spends his time outdoors – trekking, camping, and stargazing. He is also interested in cooking and experiencing cuisine from around the world.