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Europe has reached a provisional deal on landmark European Union rules governing the use of artificial intelligence, including governments’ use of AI in biometric surveillance, and the regulation of AI systems like ChatGPT.
The political agreement moves the EU toward being the first major world power to enact laws governing AI. The deal between EU countries and European Parliament members came after nearly 15 hours of negotiations following an almost 24-hour debate the previous day. Details of the final legislation will be hashed out in the coming days.
“Europe has positioned itself as a pioneer, understanding the importance of its role as a global standard setter. This is yes, I believe, a historical day,” European Commissioner Thierry Breton told a press conference.
AI Regulatory Accord
The accord requires foundation models such as ChatGPT and general purpose AI systems (GPAI) to comply with transparency obligations before they are put on the market. High-impact foundation models with systemic risk will have to conduct model evaluations, assess and mitigate systemic risks, conduct adversarial testing, report to the European Commission on serious incidents, ensure cybersecurity and report on their energy efficiency.
GPAIs with systemic risk may rely on codes of practice to comply with the new regulation. Governments are also restricted from using real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces except in specific cases, and the agreement bans cognitive behavioral manipulation and other intrusive practices.
Consumers would have the right to launch complaints and receive meaningful explanations while fines for violations would range from EUR7.5m ($8.1m) or 1.5 per cent of turnover to 35 million euros or 7 per cent of global turnover.
Business group DigitalEurope criticised the rules as yet another burden for companies, on top of other recent legislation. Privacy rights group European Digital Rights was equally critical.
The legislation is expected to enter into force early next year once both sides formally ratify it and should apply two years after that. Europe’s ambitious AI rules come as companies like OpenAI, in which Microsoft is an investor, continue to discover new uses for their technology, triggering both plaudits and concerns.
Google owner Alphabet on Thursday launched a new AI model, Gemini, to rival OpenAI. The EU law could become the blueprint for other governments and an alternative to the United States’ light-touch approach and China’s interim rules.