EU Reaches Historic Deal on AI Regulation

  • 12 Dec 2023

On 8th Dec, EU member states and lawmakers successfully concluded a "historic" deal on regulations governing artificial intelligence (AI) models, including ChatGPT, after an extensive 36-hour negotiation session.

Key Points

  • The agreement aims to balance AI innovation while safeguarding against misuse.
  • EU's Pioneering Role: The EU's internal market commissioner declared the Europe as the first continent to establish comprehensive rules for AI use, emphasizing that the AI Act serves as a launchpad for EU startups and researchers in the global pursuit of trustworthy AI.
  • Rushed Legislative Process: The AI Act underwent an accelerated legislative process in the EU this year, prompted by the emergence of ChatGPT in late 2022.
  • The legislative effort gained momentum due to concerns about the potential misuse of advanced AI technologies.
  • Generative AI Concerns: Generative AI, exemplified by ChatGPT and Google's Bard, raises concerns about its ability to swiftly generate text, images, and audio from simple commands.
  • Critics emphasize the need for regulations to address the rapid advances in AI and its potential misuse.
  • Two-Tier Approach: The agreed-upon framework adopts a two-tier approach, implementing transparency requirements for all general-purpose AI models and imposing stricter obligations on more powerful models. This nuanced approach aims to address concerns without hindering innovation.
  • Facial Recognition and Surveillance: Issues around remote biometric surveillance, including real-time facial recognition, were contentious.
  • While there is a ban on real-time facial recognition, certain exemptions for law enforcement and national security purposes have been allowed, striking a balance between privacy and security concerns.
  • EU AI Office and Sanctions: A new body, the EU AI office, will monitor and enforce compliance with the regulations.
  • The office is empowered to impose fines, equivalent to seven percent of a company's turnover or 35 million euros, whichever is larger, for violations.