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EU Council Final Approval on the AI Act: Balancing Innovation and Ethics

The European Council has given final approval to the EU Artificial Intelligence Act on May 21, which is set to become law in June 2024:

“After being signed by the presidents of the European Parliament and of the council, the legislative act will be published in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming days and enter into force 20 days after this publication. The new regulation will apply two years after its entry into force, with some exceptions for specific provisions.”

This pioneering legislation, described as the first of its kind globally, employs a risk-based approach, meaning the higher the risk an AI system poses to society, the stricter the regulations.

The law will be fully applicable in 2026, with some exceptions, such as bans on social scoring and predictive policing and untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage taking effect sooner.

The AI Act establishes several bodies for enforcement:

  • An AI Office within the European Commission to enforce the common rules across the EU
  • A scientific panel of independent experts to support the enforcement activities
  • An AI Board with member-states’ representatives to advise and assist the Commission and member-states on consistent and effective application of the AI Act
  • An advisory forum for stakeholders to provide technical expertise to the AI Board and the Commission

The AI Act also introduces penalties for non-compliance “The fines for infringements to the AI act are set as a percentage of the offending company’s global annual turnover in the previous financial year or a predetermined amount, whichever is higher. SMEs and start-ups are subject to proportional administrative fines.”

The Act has been praised for its comprehensive approach and rapid implementation, with the Federation of European Publishers in Brussels making clear its support for the AI Act:

“The AI Act is a vital piece of legislation that will regulate the role of AI in Europe and help set a global standard for how we expect AI systems to operate.

Europe has a unique opportunity to show global leadership in the AI framework for the benefit of EU citizens, creators, rights holders, industry, and the wider economy.”

Source: Publishing Perspectives

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