EU Parliament votes on the Artificial Intelligence Act
The rules include a list of prohibited AI practices
The European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act on 14 June, which aims to ensure that the development and use of AI upholds EU fundamental rights and values, as well as making sure that AI is trustworthy and safe.
The rules, which are based on a risk-based approach, include a list of prohibited AI systems that pose an unacceptable level of risk to people’s safety, which includes: ‘real-time and ‘post’ remote biometric identification systems in publicly accessible spaces; biometric categorisation systems using sensitive characteristics (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship status, religion, political orientation); predictive policing systems (based on profiling, location or past criminal behaviour); emotion recognition systems in law enforcement, border management, the workplace, and educational institutions; and untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases (violating human rights and right to privacy).
Concerning the development of foundation models, the rules would require providers to assess and mitigate possible risks and register their models in the EU database before their release to market. An obligation would be placed on the developers of high-risk AI systems to carry out a ‘fundamental rights impact assessment.’ More specifically, generative AI systems based on foundation models, like ChatGPT, would have to comply with transparency requirements (disclosing that the content was AI generated, also helping identity deep fake images) and ensure safeguards against generating illegal content. Members of the European Parliament have also revised the role of the EU AI Office, which would be tasked with monitoring how the AI rules are implemented, and have strengthened citizens’ rights to file complaints about AI systems.
Commenting on the vote, co-rapporteur Brando Benifei said: “All eyes are on us today. While Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm over their own creations, Europe has gone ahead and proposed a concrete response to the risks AI is starting to pose. We want AI’s positive potential for creativity and productivity to be harnessed but we will also fight to protect our position and counter dangers to our democracies and freedoms during the negotiations with Council.”