Following concerns raised by countries over the legislation’s effects on innovation, the EU has tentatively agreed on what goes into the AI Act.
EU countries have officially come to an agreement on the sticky details of the AI Act. The legislation has been in development since 2021, and it was passed by the EU Parliament last June. Then, in December of last year, the bloc nailed down some of the technical rules the Act will implement when it eventually comes into effect in 2025.
The Act’s aim is to rein in the developers of high-risk AI technology and protect the rights of EU citizens. It takes a risk-based approach, such that the higher the risk the tech carries, the stricter the rules its developers have to follow will be. The AI Act’s development has been watched closely by international policymakers and tech manufacturers alike. It is one of the first major legally binding ‘rulebooks’ for AI.
However, since the December agreement, EU countries have had the opportunity to discuss their concerns around some of the technicalities of the Act.
After some days of intense talks, their representatives have finally come to another agreement today (2 February). The updated proposal, which contains some compromises based on concerns aired, will be subject to formal agreement by lawmakers.
Among the concerns the updated proposal has addressed are French, German and Italian worries over regulating foundational models such as ChatGPT. The countries favoured softer-touch regulations on these players, but there was a unanimous agreement at the latest meeting.
What caused the countries with concerns to agree to the provisions was the EU’s reassurance that it would set up expert groups to oversee the implementation of the legislation and ensure it does not hamper innovation in sectors such as medtech, Brussels-based news website Politico reported.
The Act will go in front of the European Parliament for formal approval in the coming months, with a plenary vote expected in April. Any amendments proposed by concerned countries in the meantime will lead to additional negotiations, slowing down the process.