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European Union AI Act passes in parliament



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The European parliament has passed the EU AI Act, a sweeping legislative framework for governance and oversight of artificial intelligence technologies in the European Union.

The measure passed in parliament during a June 14 vote which saw majority support for the act in the form of 499 votes for, 28 against, and 93 abstaining. The next step before it becomes law will involve individual negotiations with members of European Parliament (MEPs) to smooth out the details. Initially proposed by the European Commission on April 21, the EU AI Act is a comprehensive set of rules for AI development in the EU.

Per a press release from the European parliament:

“The rules aim to promote the uptake of human-centric and trustworthy AI and protect the health, safety, fundamental rights and democracy from its harmful effects.”

Once implemented, the act would prohibit certain types of artificial intelligence services and products while limiting or placing restrictions on others. Among the technologies outright banned are biometric surveillance, social scoring systems, predictive policing, so-called “emotion recognition,” and untargeted facial recognition systems. Generative AI models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, would be allowed to operate under the condition that their outputs be clearly labelled as AI-generated.

Related: Irish data watchdog blocks Google from launching Bard in the EU

Once the act becomes law, any AI system that could “pose significant harm to people’s health, safety, fundamental rights or the environment,” or “influence voters and the outcome of elections” will be classified as high risk and subject to further governance.

Parliament’s passing of the EU AI Act comes just two weeks after the supranational entity’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) bill became law on May 31. In both cases, industry leaders were among those leading the charge for regulation.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been among the most vocal supporters of government oversight for the AI industry. He recently testified before congress during a hearing in which he made explicit his belief that regulation is necessary. However, Altman has also recently warned European regulators against overregulation.

On the cryptocurrency front, Ripple’s managing director for Europe and the United Kingdom, Sendi Young, recently told Cointelegraph that they believe MiCA will help facilitate a “level playing field” for companies operating in the crypto sector in Europe.

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