European Parliament Approved the EU’s AI Act

An important committee of lawmakers in the European Parliament has approved an artificial intelligence regulating act — which might soon become the West’s first AI law.

The approval signifies a landmark development in the competition among authorities to avail the edge in the AI space with breakneck speed.

The law called the European AI Act, is the first of its kind for AI systems in the West. China has already drafted rules to manage how firms develop generative AI products such as ChatGPT.

The law takes a risk-based approach to regulate AI space, in which the obligations for a system are directly proportional to the level of risk that it poses.

The rules also mention requirements for providers of foundation models such as ChatGPT.

The AI Act categorizes AI applications into four levels of risk: unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk, and minimal or no risk. Unacceptable risk applications are banned and cannot be deployed in the bloc.

Several lawmakers had urged for making the measures more costly to ensure they cover ChatGPT. Requirements have been enforced on foundation models like large language models and generative AI.

Developers of foundation models will have to apply safety checks, data governance measures as well as risk mitigations before making their models open to the public.

Developers will also have to ensure that the training data used for informing their systems don’t violate copyright law.

Ceyhun Pehlivan, counsel at Linklaters and co-lead of the law firm’s telecommunications, media and technology, and IP practice group in Madrid said, “The providers of such AI models would be required to take measures to assess and mitigate risks to fundamental rights, health and safety and the environment, democracy and rule of law. They would also be subject to data governance requirements, such as examining the suitability of the data sources and possible biases.”

Pehlivan added, “There are currently several initiatives to regulate generative AI across the globe, such as China and the US. However, the EU’s AI Act is likely to play a pivotal role in the development of such legislative initiatives around the world and lead the EU to again become a standards-setter on the international scene, similar to what happened in relation to the General Data Protection Regulation.”

It is important to note that, although the law has been passed by lawmakers in the European Parliament, it is miles away from becoming law.