EU Passes World’s First AI Act

K. C. Sabreena Basheer 14 Mar, 2024
3 min read

The European Parliament has taken a significant step forward in regulating artificial intelligence (AI) by passing the Artificial Intelligence Act. This comprehensive legislation sets out rules to govern the development and use of AI systems and applications within the European Union (EU). It aims to ensure the technology is safe and aligned with fundamental rights. With an overwhelming majority, the parliament endorsed the act, marking a pivotal moment in shaping the global landscape of AI governance.

Also Read: Indian Government Contemplates Adding AI Regulations to IT Act

European Parliament Passes Landmark Artificial Intelligence Act

Safeguarding Fundamental Rights

The AI Act introduces safeguards to protect fundamental rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the face of high-risk AI applications. These safeguards include limitations on the use of biometric identification systems by law enforcement and bans on social scoring and manipulative AI practices. By prioritizing the protection of citizens’ rights, the legislation aims to foster trust in AI technologies.

Restrictions on High-Risk AI Applications

The legislation imposes bans on certain AI applications deemed to pose significant risks to individuals and society. For instance, biometric categorization systems based on sensitive characteristics are prohibited. The untargeted scraping of facial images for facial recognition databases is also prohibited. Moreover, AI systems that manipulate human behavior or exploit vulnerabilities are also forbidden, ensuring the responsible use of AI across various sectors.

Also Read: Government’s New Directive: Tech Companies Must Seek Permission Before Launching AI Models in India

Obligations for Transparency and Accountability

High-risk AI systems are subject to clear obligations aimed at ensuring transparency, accuracy, and accountability. These systems must assess and mitigate risks, maintain usage logs, and ensure human oversight. Additionally, consumers can rightfully lodge complaints and receive explanations regarding decisions made by high-risk AI systems affecting their rights. This enhances accountability and promotes ethical AI practices.

Also Read: U.S. Lawmakers Propose Legislation to Govern AI in Government Operations

AI governance | Regulation of AI systems and applications

Promotion of Innovation and SMEs

The AI Act includes measures to support innovation and the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the AI sector. One of the key measures is to establish regulatory sandboxes and real-world testing environments at the national level. This would provide SMEs and startups with opportunities to develop and train innovative AI technologies before market entry. By fostering a conducive environment for innovation, the legislation aims to bolster Europe’s competitiveness in the global AI landscape.

Our Say

The passing of the Artificial Intelligence Act represents a significant milestone in shaping the future of AI governance. By prioritizing the protection of fundamental rights and promoting responsible AI practices, the EU has demonstrated its commitment to harnessing the benefits of AI while mitigating potential risks. As the legislation moves towards implementation, it is imperative for member states to collaborate effectively and ensure robust enforcement mechanisms are in place. With the right frameworks in place, the EU can lead by example in fostering a human-centric approach to AI development and deployment.

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