EU officially approves world’s first landmark AI legislation News
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EU officially approves world’s first landmark AI legislation

The European Union (EU) officially approved the world’s first landmark AI legislation on Tuesday. The Council of the European Union
unanimously adopted the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, which will enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU’s official journal.

Petra De Sutter, Belgian deputy prime minister and minister for telecommunications, said in a press release, “Today was in fact – without exaggerating – a historic day. We adopted the AI act, the first law of its kind in the world that ensures human-centric, innovative, and safe artificial intelligence for our citizens and businesses.”

The act will take a “risk-based approach” in its regulation, meaning “the higher the risk … the stricter the rules”. In order to implement this, the act will categorize different systems and types of AI in line with the risks they pose. The council also set up governing bodies to ensure enforcement of the act: an AI office, a scientific panel of independent experts, an AI board and an advisory forum for stakeholders. It will also address and regulate the use of general-purpose AI models.

The Council of the EU and the European Parliament first agreed on a provisional deal relating to the AI Act in early December 2023. The act was then officially passed in Parliament in March this year. Tuesday’s approval marked the final hurdle before the act became law. The AI Act is the first of its kind and aims to “harmonise rules on artificial intelligence”.

The AI Act will “improve the functioning of the internal market” by creating a “uniform legal framework” for AI systems, which will in turn create protections for natural persons, in particular those related to individuals’ health, safety, and fundamental rights protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “including democracy, the rule of law and environmental protection.” Importantly, the AI Act ensures that artificial intelligence adheres to vital EU legislations including Article 2 and Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and the Charter.

Mathieu Michel, Belgian secretary of state for digitization, administrative simplification, privacy protection and the building regulation said. “The adoption of the AI Act is a significant milestone for the European Union. This landmark law, the first of its kind in the world, addresses a global technological challenge that also creates opportunities for our societies and economies[.]”