The European Parliament has approved a draft law on artificial intelligence, marking a significant stride towards comprehensive AI regulation. The law, which is expected to come into effect no earlier than 2026, is the first of its kind in the world and sets a precedent for global AI governance.
The draft law, known as the “AI Act,” aims to regulate the use of AI in a manner that is safe, transparent, and non-discriminatory. It received overwhelming support from the parliament, with 499 deputies voting in favor, 28 against, and 93 abstaining. The next step involves consultations with EU member states to prepare the final version of the document.
The proposed law imposes restrictions on the use of high-risk AI systems, such as real-time remote biometric identification systems in public places. It also calls for greater transparency from AI developers, particularly those developing generative AI systems like ChatGPT. These developers will be required to submit their systems for review before they can be commercially released.
The law also seeks to introduce a unified definition of “artificial intelligence” that can be applied to both existing and future systems. This is a significant step towards ensuring that AI systems are accountable, safe, and non-discriminatory.
The AI Act is not just about restrictions and regulations; it’s also about fostering a conducive environment for AI innovation. Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Senior Director for Government Policy at Workday, believes that the law is aimed at “creating guarantees regarding the development and use of these technologies” to both foster a favorable environment for innovation and help society reap the benefits of AI.
The European Parliament’s decision is a major step towards the regulation of AI, but it’s far from the only one. Countries around the world are striving to introduce rules and standards for AI. For instance, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently expressed his intention to make the UK the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation.”
The AI Act is a testament to the growing recognition of the need for AI regulation. As AI continues to evolve and permeate various aspects of our lives, it’s crucial that we have robust laws in place to ensure its safe and ethical use.