Tougher AI Regulations Gain Support as EU Lawmakers' Committees Agree
European legislators took a significant stride towards enacting fresh regulations that would govern AI tools like ChatGPT on May 11, 2023. After a decisive vote on Thursday, they consented to more rigorous initial legislation, bringing the European Union closer to establishing the world's first all-encompassing AI Act. The act is highly awaited and is expected to introduce novel regulations regarding the employment of AI applications, including biometric surveillance, facial recognition, and other related technologies.
Following two years of negotiations, the bill is anticipated to progress to the subsequent stage of the process, where lawmakers will collaborate with the European Commission and member states to finalize its specifics. The bill suggests categorizing AI tools based on their assessed risk level, ranging from low to unacceptable. Governments and companies utilizing such tools will be subjected to varying responsibilities based on the risk level.
During the vote held on Thursday morning, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reached a consensus to prohibit the utilization of facial recognition technology in public areas, predictive policing software, and to enforce additional disclosure requirements on generative artificial intelligence programs such as OpenAI's ChatGPT. Ensuring the protection of digital rights in practice will heavily rely on the effective implementation and enforcement of these regulations.
In June, the European Parliament will hold a plenary vote on the bill, and subsequent discussions among representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission, known as "trilogue" talks, will determine the final terms. Once the terms are agreed upon and the bill is enacted into law, a grace period of approximately two years will be granted to affected parties to ensure their compliance with the regulations.
MEPs are advocating for an enhancement in citizens' ability to lodge complaints regarding AI systems and obtain explanations regarding decisions made by high-risk AI systems that have a substantial impact on their rights. Furthermore, MEPs have proposed changes to the responsibilities of the EU AI Office, which would be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the AI rulebook.