EU creates dedicated AI Office to help implement new rules

29 May 2024

Image: © twinsterphoto/Stock.adobe.com

The office will employ more than 140 staff members, including technology specialists, administrative assistants, lawyers, policy specialists and economists.

The EU has announced today (29 May) the establishment of a dedicated AI Office within the European Commission that will play a key role in the implementation of the landmark AI Act.

Adopted by the EU in March, the act is arguably the most robust and detailed form of AI regulation in the world. It aims to deal with this rapidly growing technology by using a risk-based approach – higher-risk adoptions of AI will be met with stricter rules.

The legislation passed its final hurdle last week, when the European Council gave it the green light to be implemented. This means the act is now being published in the EU’s Official Journal and will enter into force next month.

Most aspects of the regulation will apply two years after its entry, giving countries and businesses time to prepare.

Now, the Commission said that the new AI Office is set to enable the “future development, deployment and use” of AI in a way that fosters societal and economic benefits and innovation while also mitigating risks.

It will play a “key role” in the implementation of the AI Act, especially in relation to general-purpose AI models, and will work to foster research and innovation in trustworthy AI with the aim to position the EU as a leader in international discussions of the emerging technology.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said the office will help the EU ensure a “coherent” implementation of the AI Act.

“Together with developers and a scientific community, the office will evaluate and test general-purpose AI to ensure that AI serves us as humans and uphold our European values.”

The office will be composed of many units – from regulation and compliance to safety, robotics and innovation – that will work under the guidance of a lead scientific adviser. Overall, it will employ more than 140 staff, including technology specialists, administrative assistants, lawyers, policy specialists and economists.

Internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton said that with the 140 staff based at the AI Office, the Commission will have the “necessary expertise” to drive the implementation of the AI Act.

“[This will] reinforce Europe’s role as a global standard-setter in AI. The office will foster a European AI ecosystem that is innovative, competitive and respectful of EU rules and values.”

A new report published today suggests that Ireland’s economy could be boosted significantly over the next decade by AI – but it could also displace roughly 160,000 jobs.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com