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The AI Act: Europe’s Step Forward in Regulating AI’s Potential to Cause Harm

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The European Parliament’s AI Act


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gradually become more advanced and integrated into many aspects of our lives. As with any developing technology, there is a risk of negative consequences if it is not regulated properly. The European Parliament recently approved the AI Act, which aims to identify and manage potential harm caused by AI technology.

The AI Act is a key step forward in regulating AI use to prevent potential harm. In this blog post, we will explore the AI Act and its various components in detail.

The OECD Definition of AI

Artificial Intelligence is a system that mimics human intelligence. On a broader scale, it includes anything from simple decision trees to complex neural networks. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines AI as “a collection of technologies that can be used to create or automate processes that were previously performed by humans.”

The AI Act defines Artificial Intelligence similarly, aligning its definition with the OECD’s. The legislation’s framers anticipate future wording adjustments as technology continues to develop.

The Dark Side of AI

The AI Act prohibits various practices that can be harmful or manipulative. It includes manipulative techniques, social scoring, biometric categorization, and predictive policing, as well as emotion recognition software in certain settings. While AI has great potential to create positive change, it can also cause acutely negative outcomes when not used ethically.

Regulating General Purpose AI

General Purpose AI (GPAI) systems are not covered by regulation by default, but GPAI providers must support downstream operators’ compliance with regulations. This ensures that GPAI systems are not used in such a way that causes harm or negatively affects people’s rights.

Transparency and Accountability

The AI Act also imposes stricter requirements for foundation models and generative AI models. Providers must disclose when a text is AI-generated and give a summary of training data required.

Identifying High-Risk AI Applications

High-risk AI applications pose significant risks to people’s health, safety, or fundamental rights. Obligations for providers and users of risk management, data governance, and impact assessment are prescribed.

The AI Office

The AI Act’s enforcement architecture includes an AI Office tasked with providing guidance and coordinating investigations. Additionally, it can settle disputes among national authorities on dangerous AI systems. This fosters a system of transparency and accountability.

Balancing Innovation and Regulation

As AI continues to grow in usage and complexity, regulating its use and management is a necessity. The AI Act in Europe aims to ensure responsible use of AI technology.

This legislation bridges the gap between innovation and observation, creating a bridge for responsible AI use. While there is much more to be done, including regulation and compliance monitoring, the AI Act is a crucial first step in ensuring that AI aligns with human values, ethics and protects fundamental human rights.

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