Eerdere besprekingen over de AI Act. Rechtsachter: Thierry Breton, de initiator van de wet Copyright: Terence Zakka op X.
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The new AI law, considered the first of its kind, introduces risk categories for AI applications and sets strict requirements for the highest-risk systems. Key elements include bans on unauthorized use of facial recognition and mass surveillance, as well as transparency rules for generative AI systems. Companies that violate the law risk fines of up to 35 million euros or 7 percent of their revenue. The legislation, which will be phased in starting in May, positions Europe as a world leader in AI regulation.

The vote in the European Parliament marks the latest step in a series of developments that have led to the creation of the European AI law in recent years. This legislation, spearheaded by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, aims to control the impact of artificial intelligence and protect the fundamental rights of citizens from the potentially invasive nature of AI technologies.

The law distinguishes different risk levels of AI applications and states that systems with the highest risk, such as algorithms for CVs and medical devices, must meet strict requirements. This includes a human rights test to ensure that AI systems are not biased or discriminatory. This test will become mandatory starting in May 2026.

Why this is important:

Today is a crucial day for Europe. After years of deliberation, the European Parliament is voting today for the last time on the AI Act. There is a good chance it will be passed.

Strict controls and bans

The European AI law also introduces a ban on the indiscriminate scanning of portrait photos on the Internet and camera images. A compromise has been reached on the deployment of smart cameras in public spaces, setting clear limits on what is and is not allowed.

The legislation comes into effect in different time frames, with some rules taking effect as early as six months after the law is published. This includes the ban on the misuse of facial recognition and mass surveillance through AI.

Impact on industry

The new rules have far-reaching implications for companies developing and providing AI systems. About 15 percent of all AI systems will fall under the strict new regulations. This means that developers and providers of AI systems will have to be accountable and transparent about the operation and provenance of their products.

Specific rules for generative AI systems, such as the chatbot ChatGPT and the image generator Midjourney, will go into effect in May 2025. These systems will have to be transparent about the data they are trained with and must not generate illegal content.

This emphasis on transparency is crucial to increasing public confidence in AI technologies and ensuring an ethical approach to artificial intelligence.

Europe as a pioneer in AI regulation

With the introduction of the AI law, the European Union is taking a leading role in the global regulation of artificial intelligence. The law is seen as an important tool for ensuring the security and rights of citizens in the digital age.

This legislation is the result of intensive cooperation between various European institutions and marks an important step forward in protecting the fundamental rights of European citizens. It is a clear signal of the European Union’s commitment to a responsible and people-centered approach to technological progress.