EU Parliament Approves Landmark AI Act

On March 14, the European Parliament gave final approval to the EU AI Act, a comprehensive set of regulations for artificial intelligence (AI). The purpose of the law is to ensure that AI is trustworthy, safe, and respects fundamental rights while promoting innovation. The legislation was endorsed by a vote of 523 in favor, with 46 votes against and 49 abstentions. The bill was first proposed five years ago and gained momentum as AI models became more prevalent. After undergoing translation and a second vote in April, the law is expected to be published in May. Prohibited practices will begin to be banned starting in November. The EU AI Act categorizes machine learning models based on their risk level, with high-risk models subject to the strictest rules. Unacceptable risk includes AI systems that threaten safety, livelihoods, and rights, such as government social scoring and toys that encourage dangerous behavior. High-risk applications encompass critical infrastructure, education and training, safety components, law enforcement, migration and border control, administration of justice, and democratic processes. Limited risk focuses on transparency and user awareness, such as interacting with AI chatbots and labeling AI-generated content. The EU AI Act also allows for the free use of minimal-risk AI, which includes applications like video games and spam filters. The legislation includes provisions for generative AI models and deepfake content, requiring detailed summaries of training data and labeling manipulated content. The EU’s approach to regulating AI has received pushback from some local businesses and tech companies concerned about overregulation. IBM praised the EU for its leadership in passing comprehensive and ethical AI legislation.

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