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European Union AI Act receives final approval

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22 May 2024



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On 21 May 2024, the Council of the European Union formally approved the artificial intelligence (AI) Act. The legislative act will come into force in about three weeks’ time, with the new regulations being phased in over the course of the coming months and years. According to the Council, the new law aims to “foster the development and uptake of safe and trustworthy AI systems across the EU’s single market by both private and public actors. At the same time, it aims to ensure respect of fundamental rights of EU citizens and stimulate investment and innovation on artificial intelligence in Europe.”

The legislation is designed to follow a risk-based approach, with the higher the risk a system poses, the stricter the rules relating to its use and/or release. AI systems presenting only limited risk will be subject to very light transparency obligations, while high-risk AI systems will be authorised, but subject to a set of requirements and obligations to gain access to the EU market. Certain systems deemed to pose an unacceptable risk, such as cognitive behavioural manipulation and social scoring, will be banned from the EU altogether. The law 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.

The act also addresses general-purpose AI models. Those not posing systemic risks will be subject to some limited requirements, for example with regard to transparency, but those with systemic risks will have to comply with stricter rules.

The AI act applies only to certain areas within EU law and provides exemptions for systems used exclusively for research purposes, and, notably, for military and defence systems.

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Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.
Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.




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