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Deal on Landmark AI Law Reached Within EU

EU lawmakers and member states on Friday struck a deal on rules regulating artificial intelligence (AI).

“Historic! The EU becomes the very first continent to set clear rules for the use of AI,” said European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton late Friday following the conclusion of marathon talks that began on Wednesday.

“The AI Act is much more than a rulebook — it’s a launchpad for EU startups and researchers to lead the global AI race,” Breton said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

The European Commission said in a statement early Saturday that it welcomes the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the act, proposed by the commission in April 2021.

Calling the act “the first-ever comprehensive legal framework on AI worldwide,” President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the agreement will “foster responsible innovation in Europe” by “focusing regulation on identifiable risks.”

Carme Artigas, Spanish secretary of state for digitalization and artificial intelligence, hailed the deal as “a historic achievement and a significant milestone towards the future,” according to a statement from the EU Council.

The agreement includes additions to the initial proposal by the European Commission, such as the extension of the list of prohibitions. As for the much-debated use of remote biometric identification, the agreement gives exemptions to the use of such identification by law enforcement authorities in public spaces, provided that certain safeguards are in place.

The new AI rules also stress better protection of rights by obligating the deployers of high-risk AI systems to conduct a fundamental rights impact assessment before putting the systems into use.

The Council’s statement underscores that foundation models must comply with specific transparency obligations before entering the market. For high-impact foundation models, characterized by extensive data training and advanced complexity, a stricter regime will be introduced to address potential systemic risks.

“By guaranteeing the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, it will support the development, deployment, and take-up of trustworthy AI in the EU. Our AI Act will make a substantial contribution to the development of global rules and principles for human-centric AI,” von der Leyen said.

According to the European Commission, the new AI rules will be “applied directly in the same way” across all EU member states. National market surveillance authorities will supervise the rules’ implementation at the national level, while a new European AI office will be created within the European Commission to ensure coordination at the European level.

The EU Council said that following the agreement on Friday, “work will continue at technical level in the coming weeks” to finalize the details of the new regulation.

Xinhua

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