In a historic development, Europe has reached a provisional agreement on comprehensive regulations governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI), positioning the continent as the first major global power to establish a robust framework for AI.
The agreement, reached after nearly 15 hours of negotiations and a 24-hour debate, covers key areas such as transparency, the use of AI in public spaces, and stringent requirements for high-impact models with systemic risks.
European Commissioner Thierry Breton highlighted the significance of this move, stating, "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."
The provisions include transparency obligations for foundation models like ChatGPT before market entry, systemic risk evaluations, and guidelines for real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces. The legislation also introduces strict bans on cognitive behavioral manipulation, untargeted scraping of facial images, social scoring, and biometric categorization for profiling.
Consumer rights are a focal point, allowing individuals to launch complaints and receive meaningful explanations. Fines for violations range from 7.5 million euros or 1.5% of turnover to 35 million euros or 7% of global turnover.
However, the agreement has faced some criticism. Business group DigitalEurope criticized the regulations as an additional burden for companies, while privacy rights group European Digital Rights expressed reservations, particularly regarding biometric surveillance and profiling.
The legislation is expected to formally ratify early next year, with enforcement commencing two years thereafter. As governments worldwide grapple with balancing the benefits and risks of AI, Europe's ambitious rules could potentially set a precedent for other nations, offering an alternative approach to the U.S. and China's strategies.
This development occurs at a time when AI technology continues to evolve, with companies like OpenAI and Google exploring new applications, triggering both praise and concerns.
Source: World Economic Forum
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