Breaking: EU Council approves AI Act, world’s first legal framework on artificial intelligence

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on May 21, 2024
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  • The act, which received approval on Tuesday, is expected to enter into force next month.
  • The AI Act is designed to apply exclusively to areas within EU law.
  • The AI Act will facilitate the establishment of an AI office within the European Commission.

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The European Council has approved the European Union’s AI Act, making it the world’s first legal framework on artificial intelligence.

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The act, which received approval on Tuesday, is expected to enter into force next month, with its regulations becoming applicable in two years.

This landmark legislation aims to ensure the development of safe and trustworthy AI systems within the single market and protect the rights of EU citizens.

Comprehensive framework with specific exemptions

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The AI Act is designed to apply exclusively to areas within EU law.

It includes specific exemptions for systems used solely for military and defense purposes, as well as for research activities.

“The AI Act applies only to areas within EU law and provides exemptions such as for systems used exclusively for military and defense as well as for research purposes,” the Council noted.

This distinction ensures that critical sectors like defense and research can continue to innovate without the constraints of the new regulations.

Establishment of an AI regulatory infrastructure

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To enforce these new rules uniformly across the union, the AI Act will facilitate the establishment of an AI office within the European Commission.

This office will be responsible for the overarching enforcement of the common rules. Additionally, a scientific panel of independent experts will be created to provide technical and ethical guidance.

A board comprising representatives from member states and an advisory forum for stakeholders will also be formed to ensure broad-based input and oversight.

Implications for AI development and market dynamics

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The approval of the AI Act marks a significant milestone in global AI regulation, setting a precedent for other regions considering similar frameworks.

The legislation aims to balance innovation with safety, ensuring that AI systems developed within the EU are both cutting-edge and aligned with European values and standards.

By implementing such a comprehensive regulatory structure, the EU is positioning itself as a leader in ethical AI development.

Looking ahead: Enforcement and adaptation

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While the AI Act will officially enter into force next month, its full implementation will take two years, providing a transitional period for businesses and developers to adapt to the new regulations. During this period, the newly established AI office and associated bodies will play a crucial role in guiding stakeholders through the compliance process.

The act’s emphasis on stakeholder involvement through the advisory forum also ensures that the evolving needs and concerns of various sectors are continually addressed.

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