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EU leaders give final go-ahead for AI act
The EU Council meets in Brussels (Pic: European Union)

22 May 2024 / legislation Print

EU leaders give final go-ahead for AI act

EU leaders have given final approval to what they are describing as the first legislation of its kind in the world on the regulation of artificial intelligence.

The EU’s AI Act will harmonise the rules on AI, following a risk-based approach, meaning that there will be stricter rules for AI technology seen as posing a higher risk to cause harm to society.

The move comes after the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted a framework convention on AI and human rights, democracy, and the rule of law – the first binding international treaty on the issue.

The EU act will ban AI systems such as cognitive behavioural manipulation and social scoring from the EU, because their risk is deemed unacceptable.

Enforcement bodies

The law also prohibits the use of AI for predictive policing based on profiling and systems that use biometric data to categorise people according to specific categories, such as race, religion, or sexual orientation.

General-purpose AI models not posing systemic risks will be subject to some limited requirements on transparency, but those with systemic risks will have to comply with stricter rules.

The act sets up several governing bodies to enforce the rules:

  • An AI office within the European Commission to enforce the common rules across the EU,
  • A scientific panel of independent experts to support the enforcement activities,
  • An AI board with member states’ representatives to advise and assist the commission and member states on consistent and effective application of the act, and
  • An advisory forum for stakeholders to provide technical expertise to the AI board and the commission.

Non-compliance with the act can lead to fines ranging from €7.5 million (1.5 % of turnover) to €35 million (7% of global turnover), depending on the infringement and size of the company.

After being signed by the presidents of the European Parliament and of the Council, the legislative act will be published in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming days and enter into force 20 days after this publication.

The new regulation will apply two years after its entry into force, with some exceptions for specific provisions.

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