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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

EU's AI Act Overcomes Final Hurdle, Set for Adoption

📸 ModelProp / Midjourney

The European Union’s AI Act, a strategic plan for regulating artificial intelligence applications, has leapt over what appears to be the last significant hurdle on its path to adoption.

Today, representatives from Member States cast their votes, confirming the final text of this groundbreaking draft law.

This development comes on the heels of the political agreement reached in December. This agreement was the result of intense, round-the-clock negotiations between EU co-legislators. Following this, the process of transforming these agreed positions into a final compromise text for lawmakers' approval began, culminating in today's Coreper vote affirming the draft rules.

The proposed regulation outlines a list of prohibited AI uses, such as social scoring, and introduces governance rules for high-risk uses. These include AI applications that could harm health, safety, fundamental rights, the environment, democracy, and the rule of law. However, 'low risk' AI applications will not fall under the law.

The unanimous backing of the draft text by all 27 ambassadors of EU Member States is a sigh of relief for many in Brussels. The risk-based AI regulation had faced opposition, particularly from France, who were keen to avoid legal constraints that might hinder the growth of their own AI startups.

The next step in adopting the draft law is a final vote by the European Parliament. Given that the most significant backlash came from a few Member States, these upcoming votes seem to be a formality, and the EU's flagship AI Act should become law in the coming months.

Once adopted, the Act will come into force 20 days after publication in the EU’s Official Journal. A tiered implementation period will then follow before the new rules apply to in-scope apps and AI models.

The Commission is already setting up an AI Office to oversee the compliance of more powerful foundational models deemed to pose systemic risk. They have also recently announced measures to boost the prospects of homegrown AI developers, including retooling the bloc’s network of supercomputers to support generative AI model training.

In the world of AI, it's all systems go!

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