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Unveiling the World’s First AI Regulations
Unveiling the World’s First AI Regulations – Embarking on an unprecedented journey in the realm of technological governance, the European Union has taken a historic leap by revealing the world’s inaugural set of regulations for artificial intelligence (AI). In a groundbreaking move, negotiators from the European Parliament and the bloc’s 27 member states have crafted a comprehensive framework that not only addresses the intricacies of AI implementation by governments but also sets transparency standards for foundational models like ChatGPT. This pioneering agreement marks a pivotal moment in the global landscape, positioning the EU at the forefront of responsible innovation and igniting anticipation for a new era in the ethical use of AI technologies.
In a groundbreaking move, the European Union (EU) has reached a preliminary agreement on the first-ever legislation to regulate artificial intelligence (AI). Negotiators from the European Parliament and the bloc’s 27 member states sealed the deal on Friday (12/8), addressing regulations governing AI use by governments in biometric surveillance and guidelines for AI systems like ChatGPT.
European Commissioner Thierry Breton, in a press conference on Saturday (12/9), emphasized the historic significance of the EU’s positioning as a global standard-setter. “Europe has positioned itself as a trailblazer, understanding the importance of its role as a determinant of global standards. I believe this is a historic day,” remarked Breton, as quoted by Reuters.
The regulations will mandate foundational models like ChatGPT and General Purpose AI (GPAI) systems to adhere to transparency obligations before entering the market. Compliance includes compiling technical documentation, adhering to EU copyright laws, and disseminating detailed summaries of the content used for training.
High-impact foundational models with systemic risks must conduct model assessments, evaluate and mitigate systemic risks, perform testing for losses, report serious incidents to the European Commission, ensure cybersecurity, and report energy efficiency. GPAI with systemic risks can rely on best practice codes to comply with these new regulations.
Under the legislation, governments can only employ real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces in cases of specific criminal victims, prevention of threats such as terrorist attacks, and the search for individuals suspected of committing serious crimes. The regulations also prohibit cognitive behavior manipulation, the removal of non-targeted facial images from the internet or CCTV recordings, and the use of social assessments and biometric categorization systems to determine political beliefs, religion, philosophy, sexual orientation, and race.
Consumers will have the right to file complaints and receive detailed explanations under these regulations. Violators may face fines ranging from 7.5 million euros or 1.5% of turnover to 35 million euros or 7% of global turnover.
However, the new regulations have faced criticism from the Digital Europe business group, which considers them a new burden for companies. Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, the Director-General of Digital Europe, stated, “We agree in principle, but at what cost? We fully support a risk-based approach based on the use of AI, not the technology itself. However, the latest efforts to regulate foundational models have changed this.”
Privacy advocacy group European Digital Rights also echoed similar concerns. “It’s hard to feel pleased with legislation that, for the first time in the EU, takes steps to legalize direct public facial recognition across all member states,” said EU Senior Policy Advisor Ella Jakubowska.
The legislation is expected to come into effect in early 2024 after all parties officially ratify it, with enforcement starting two years thereafter.
The European Union’s historic agreement on the world’s first AI regulations signifies a significant stride towards a future where artificial intelligence is governed by transparency, accountability, and ethical considerations. By laying down comprehensive guidelines for both government applications and foundational AI models, the EU has demonstrated its commitment to shaping a responsible and globally influential AI landscape. As these regulations are set to take effect in early 2024, it opens the door to a new era of innovation where the potential of AI can be harnessed while safeguarding against potential risks.
Moving forward, it is crucial for other nations to take inspiration from the EU’s approach and collaborate on establishing international standards for AI governance. By fostering a collective effort, we can ensure that AI technologies continue to advance for the benefit of society, without compromising on ethical principles. As the world witnesses this pioneering initiative unfold, it serves as a call to action for governments, industry leaders, and technology developers to work together in shaping an AI-driven future that prioritizes transparency, accountability, and the well-being of humanity.