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Committees Of EU Legislators Agree On Tighter Draft AI Restrictions

Committees Of EU Legislators Agree On Tighter Draft AI Restrictions
After a crucial vote on Thursday, European legislators moved one step closer to approving new laws governing artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT.
The widely anticipated AI Act of the European Union appears to be the world's first complete legislation regulating the technology, including fresh regulations regulating the implementation of facial recognition, biometric monitoring, and other AI uses.
The bill is set to go to the next stage of the process, in which parliamentarians agree its specifics with the European Commission and individual member states, after two years of talks.
Dragos Tudorache, one of the parliamentarians (MEPs) entrusted with crafting the regulations, said prior to the vote by two MPs' committees: "It is a delicate deal." But it is a package that, in my opinion, benefits everyone who participated in these conversations."
"Our societies expect us to do something determined about artificial intelligence, and the impact it has on their lives. It's enough to turn on the TV ... in the last two or three months, and every day you see how important this is becoming for citizens."
According to the proposals, AI tools will be rated based on their assessed level of risk, ranging from low to unacceptable. Governments and businesses who use these tools will have varying obligations based on the level of risk.
Svenja Hahn, a German MEP, told Reuters that the negotiations had compelled conservative and left-wing MEPs to compromise. "We were able to reach an agreement that would regulate AI proportionally, protect civil rights, and boost innovation and the economy," she said.
MEPs agreed in a vote on Thursday morning to prohibit the use of facial recognition in public settings, predictive policing tools, and to impose new transparency rules on generative AI apps such as OpenAI's ChatGPT.
"This vote is a milestone in regulating AI, and a clear signal from the Parliament that fundamental rights should be a cornerstone of that," Greens MEP Kim van Sparrentak told Reuters. "AI should serve people, society, and the environment, not the other way around."
Before final provisions are decided in "trilogue" talks involving representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission, the bill will be placed to a plenary vote in the European Parliament in June.
After the conditions are established and the bill becomes law, there will be a two-year period of grace for impacted parties to comply with the laws.
"The European Parliament must enter the trilogue with the strongest possible position to protect the rights of all people inside and entering the EU," said Caterina Rodelli, EU policy analyst at non-profit organisation Access Now.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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