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EU Parliament Approves Landmark Artificial Intelligence Act

Terfa Ukende
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In a significant milestone for global AI governance, the European Union’s Parliament has overwhelmingly passed the Artificial Intelligence Act, marking the world’s first comprehensive legislation on the use of AI. With 523 votes in favor, 46 against, and 49 abstentions, the law sets out guidelines for acceptable AI applications, mandates disclosures, and prohibits certain uses of the technology.

The law, which will be implemented on a rolling basis, represents a proactive approach by the EU to address the challenges posed by the rapid proliferation of AI technologies. Some provisions will come into force later this year, while others will be enacted within three years.

Romanian member Dragos Tudorache emphasized the transformative impact of AI on various aspects of society, calling the AI Act a “starting point for a new model of governance built around technology.” He highlighted the need to rethink fundamental aspects of democracy, education, labor markets, and warfare in the age of AI.

In contrast, while the United States has also taken steps to address AI governance, President Joe Biden’s executive order falls short of the comprehensive approach adopted by the EU. The U.S. executive order directs government departments to study AI risks and formulate policy recommendations, reflecting a more cautious approach.

However, in the global digital landscape, the origin of regulatory policies can significantly influence their adoption worldwide. Companies often adhere to the most stringent regulations, irrespective of their geographical location, to ensure compliance. For instance, despite the absence of a specific data privacy law in the U.S., many websites offer opt-out options for third-party cookies due to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Similarly, the EU’s AI laws are expected to have a far-reaching impact on AI transparency and accountability standards. The legislation requires AI platform owners to embed disclosure requirements in their services, enhancing transparency for all users. Moreover, the law prohibits certain AI applications linked to physical locations, such as biometric categorization systems and predictive policing algorithms, underscoring the EU’s commitment to safeguarding individual rights and privacy.

As the EU sets a precedent with its pioneering AI legislation, the global community will closely monitor its implementation and the potential ripple effects on AI governance worldwide. Read Similar Story

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