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German cartoon: “The more AI gets intelligent, the more we have to be attentive”



21 April 2021*

 ©European Union  Source: European Commission. CC BY4.0
(Photos supplied by Guidepost from various sources)




The Commission is proposing the first-ever legal framework on AI, which addresses the risks of AI and positions Europe to play a leading role globally.

The regulatory proposal aims to provide AI developers, deployers and users with clear requirements and obligations regarding specific uses of AI. At the same time, the proposal seeks to reduce administrative and financial burdens for business, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The proposal is part of a wider AI package, which also includes the updated Coordinated Plan on AI. Together, the Regulatory framework and Coordinated Plan will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses when it comes to AI. And, they will strengthen uptake, investment and innovation in AI across the EU.


Why do we need rules on AI?

The proposed AI regulation ensures that Europeans can trust what AI has to offer. While most AI systems pose limited to no risk and can contribute to solving many societal challenges, certain AI systems create risks that we must address to avoid undesirable outcomes.

AI sales forecasting example

For example, it is often not possible to find out why an AI system has made a decision or prediction and taken a particular action. So, it may become difficult to assess whether someone has been unfairly disadvantaged, such as in a hiring decision or in an application for a public benefit scheme.

Although existing legislation provides some protection, it is insufficient to address the specific challenges AI systems may bring.

The proposed rules will:

  • address risks specifically created by AI applications;
  • propose a list of high-risk applications;
  • set clear requirements for AI systems for high risk applications;
  • define specific obligations for AI users and providers of high risk applications;
  • propose a conformity assessment before the AI system is put into service or placed on the market;
  • propose enforcement after such an AI system is placed in the market;
  • propose a governance structure at European and national level.


What is the international dimension of the EU’s approach?

Event: AI booklet delivery to the European Parliament on 10 May 2023 advocating strong AI Act

The proposal for regulatory framework and the Coordinated Plan on AI are part of the efforts of the European Union to be a global leader in the promotion of trustworthy AI at international level. AI has become an area of strategic importance at the crossroads of geopolitics, commercial stakes and security concerns. Countries around the world are choosing to use AI as a way to signal their desires for technical advancement due to its utility and potential.

AI regulation is only emerging and the EU will take actions to foster the setting of global AI standards in close collaboration with international partners in line with the rules-based multilateral system and the values it upholds. The EU intends to deepen partnerships, coalitions and alliances with EU partners (e.g. Japan, the US or India) as well as multilateral (e.g. OECD and G20) and regional organisations (e.g. Council of Europe).


*Following the Commission’s proposal, the regulation could enter into force late 2022/early 2023 in a transitional period. In this period, standards would be mandated and developed, and the governance structures set up would be operational. The second half of 2024 is the earliest time the regulation could become applicable to operators with the standards ready and the first conformity assessments carried out.


Featured image/Werner Huth, CCO via Wikimedia Commons
European Commission/European Commission, PD via Wikipedia
AI sales forecasting/Chorro270, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Booklet for a strong AI Act/Ekö, CC BY2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

See also “Artificial Intelligence Act“, Wikipedia