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EU Officials Confident Its ‘AI Act’ Will Pass Sometime This Year

According to Reuters, The European Union hopes to pass a groundbreaking law to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) as soon as possible. As stated by the EU’s Technology Regulation Chief Margrethe Vestager, it is envisaged that the law will likely be passed sometime in 2023. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, this proposed legislation, is concerned mainly with tightening regulations on data quality, openness, human oversight, and accountability. Additionally, it aims to address ethical issues and implementation difficulties in several industries, including healthcare, education, finance, and energy. Such news will likely be music to the ears of people calling for just this for some time now, like Elon Musk and Google’s CEO.

“[AI] has been around for decades but has reached new capacities fueled by computing power,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s Commissioner for Internal Market, said in a statement. The Artificial Intelligence Act aims to “strengthen Europe’s position as a global hub of excellence in AI from the lab to the market, ensure that AI in Europe respects our values and rules, and harness the potential of AI for industrial use,” he added.

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This announcement comes after a preliminary deal was reached Thursday last week (27 April 2023) by members of the European Parliament to push through the draft of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act to a vote by a committee of lawmakers on May 11. But, before it becomes official EU law, negotiations must take place to finalize the details across EU member states.

Vestager described the EU AI Act as “pro-innovation” during a news conference following a Group of Seven (G7) digital ministers meeting in Takasaki, Japan, because it aims to reduce the risks of social harm from new technology. To develop “guardrails” on developing artificial intelligence technology without strangling innovation, regulators worldwide have attempted to strike a balance.

“We have these guardrails for high-risk use cases because cleaning up … after a misuse by AI would be so much more expensive and damaging than the use case of AI itself,” Vestager said. “There was no reason to hesitate and to wait for the legislation to be passed to accelerate the necessary discussions to provide the changes in all the systems where AI will have an enormous influence,” she said in an interview.

Although the EU AI Act is anticipated to be passed this year, lawyers have predicted that it will take some time before it is implemented. However, Vestager stated that companies could begin to think about the implications of the new legislation.

“Now when everyone has AI at their fingertips … there’s a need for us to show the political leadership to make sure that one can safely use AI and gain all the amazing possibilities of improvement in productivity and better services,” Vestager said in an interview with Reuters.

The EU is not the only nation considering such legislation, with similar actions taking place in the United States too. Many other nation-states will likely follow suit in the following months and years.