Europe’s Landmark Move to Shape Ethical AI Use

Image: Swiss Cognitive

The European Parliament and Council have reached a groundbreaking agreement on the Artificial Intelligence Act.

This legislation is designed to ensure the safe, ethical, and responsible use of AI in Europe, with a keen focus on protecting fundamental rights, democracy, and environmental sustainability.

European AI Legislation Seeks to Achieve a ‘Careful Equilibrium’

The Act strikes a balance between encouraging innovation and implementing safeguards against AI-related risks. It specifically prohibits AI uses that infringe on personal liberties, like biometric categorisation based on sensitive characteristics such as political or religious beliefs.

The legislation also halts the indiscriminate collection of facial images from the internet or CCTV for facial recognition databases.

Additionally, it bans AI applications that could threaten individual rights and democratic values, including emotion recognition in workplaces and educational settings, social scoring, and manipulation of human behaviour.

Safeguards and exceptions for biometric identification systems have been carefully delineated. These include prerequisites like prior judicial authorisation and stringent usage limitations.

AI Rules Present Potential Hazards

For high-risk AI systems, the Act mandates fundamental rights impact assessments and allows consumers to file complaints if their rights are impacted by AI systems.

The legislation also aims to foster innovation and support small businesses by encouraging the creation of regulatory sandboxes by national authorities.

Non-compliance with these new regulations may lead to significant fines. Depending on the violation and company size, fines could range from 35 million euros or 7% of global turnover to 7.5 million euros or 1.5% of turnover.

The bill’s formal adoption by both the Parliament and the Council is pending. Its approval will represent a major step in establishing global standards for responsible AI development.

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