European Parliament Approves Landmark AI Regulation Act

  • The European Parliament has taken a significant step towards regulating artificial intelligence by approving the EU AI Act, which includes measures such as requiring generative AI developers to submit systems for review prior to commercial release and enforcing a ban on real-time biometric identification systems in public settings.
  • Industry experts and stakeholders, including Github CEO Thomas Dohmke, urge EU regulators to act swiftly in establishing AI rules, emphasizing the importance of incorporating insights from technology builders, academia, and open-source communities to foster an innovation-friendly environment.

In a historic move, the European Parliament has given its approval to the EU AI Act, setting the stage for the first formal regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the West.

Europe Parliament

The EU AI Act is the pioneering set of comprehensive regulations specifically tailored for AI, an area that has gained immense significance in the global tech landscape. Among the various AI technologies, generative AI, which can create new content based on user inputs, has been under the spotlight. While it has fascinated scholars, entrepreneurs, and students alike with its capabilities ranging from generating music lyrics to coding, concerns regarding job loss, the spread of misinformation, and biases have also arisen.

During an essential vote on Wednesday, the AI Act was endorsed by the Parliament with 499 votes for, 28 against, and 93 abstentions. Though still some distance away from becoming a law, it is expected to be among the inaugural official regulations for AI across the globe.

One of the remarkable outcomes of the Parliamentary agreement is the imposition of stricter controls on generative AI tools such as ChatGPT. It mandates that developers of generative AI must subject their systems to a review before they are launched commercially.

The Act is also staunch in its stance against real-time biometric identification and the contentious “social scoring” systems. Despite apprehensions from human rights advocates about the European People’s Party’s efforts to dilute the ban, lawmakers have chosen to move forward with it, thus forbidding biometric surveillance in all public spaces.

This legislation holds substantial consequences for generative AI model creators like OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft and has developed ChatGPT, and Google’s Bard.

Jens-Henrick Jeppesen, the Senior Director of Public Policy at Workday, stated that the objective of the AI Act is to “build safeguards on the development and use of these technologies to ensure we have an innovation-friendly environment for these technologies such that society can benefit from them.”

The Act will now proceed to negotiation stages involving the EU’s executive body and representatives from the 27 member states.