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EU Committee Approves First AI Legislation

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EU Committee Approves First AI Legislation

Legislators in the European Parliament made a significant move in the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) by approving a preliminary agreement on Feb. 13. This milestone paves the way for the world’s first legislation on AI, with a legislative assembly vote set for April. The Internal Market and Civil Liberties Committees voted 71-8 in favor of the AI Act, which aims to establish guidelines for the use of AI in various industries such as banking, automotive, electronics, aviation, security, and law enforcement. These regulations will cover foundational models of AI, including the one developed by OpenAI and supported by Microsoft, which are capable of learning from new data for different tasks.

The approval came after EU countries showed their support, following France’s withdrawal of its objection. This led to concessions being made to reduce the administrative burden on high-risk AI systems and provide better protection for business secrets just 10 days ago. Since the December political agreement, efforts have been made to transform agreed-upon positions into a final compromise text for approval by lawmakers. The “coreper” vote on Feb. 2, which involved the permanent representatives of all member states, concluded this process.

The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties described the endorsement as a step forward for AI in a post on the X social platform. The AI Act will now move towards legislation with a vote by a crucial EU lawmaker committee on Feb. 13, followed by a European Parliament vote in March or April. The legislation is expected to be implemented in 2026, although certain provisions may take effect earlier.

A joint letter from businesses and tech companies sent to EU regulators on Nov. 23 highlighted concerns over over-policing robust AI systems, which could hinder innovation. The letter, signed by 33 companies operating in the EU, emphasized that overly strict regulations on foundational models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and general-purpose AI (GPAI) could discourage essential innovation in the region.

To address these concerns, the European Commission has taken steps to establish an AI Office responsible for monitoring compliance with high-impact foundational models that pose systemic risks. Measures have been unveiled to support local AI developers, such as upgrading the EU’s supercomputer network for generative AI model training.

The European Parliament’s approval of the preliminary agreement on AI regulations sets the stage for the world’s first legislation on this technology. The AI Act aims to establish guidelines for the use of AI in various industries and covers foundational models developed by companies like OpenAI. While concerns have been raised about potential over-regulation hindering innovation, the European Commission is taking steps to strike a balance and support both compliance and local AI development. The legislation is expected to be implemented in 2026, marking a significant milestone in the regulation of AI.

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