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EU lawmakers set to approve groundbreaking AI regulations

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European Parliament lawmakers are preparing to vote on Wednesday to initiate discussions and approve the world’s first comprehensive regulations on artificial intelligence (AI) systems, such as ChatGPT.

“The aim is to strike a balance between curbing potential harms associated with AI while fostering innovation. The urgency to establish these rules grew when ChatGPT gained prominence last year, demonstrating the rapid development of AI and the potential risks it poses..”

“Calls for AI regulation are also increasing across the Atlantic, as Western governments face mounting pressure to act swiftly in what some consider a battle to safeguard humanity.”

“Once approved by the EU Parliament, negotiations for a final law with the bloc’s 27 member states will commence almost immediately, starting later on Wednesday. The race is on to reach an agreement on the final legislation by the end of this year.”

“Even if this ambitious target is met, the law would not come into effect until at least 2026, prompting the EU to seek a voluntary interim agreement with tech companies.”

“Last month, Brussels and the United States agreed to establish a common code of conduct on AI to develop standards among democratic nations.”

“Lawmakers have hailed the draft law as “historic” and have pushed back against critics who argue that the EU’s plans could hinder rather than encourage innovation.”

“MEP Dragos Tudorache emphasized during Tuesday’s parliamentary debate in Strasbourg that it is the right time for Europe to regulate AI due to its profound impact. He stated, “What we can do here is to create trust, legal certainty, to enable AI to develop in a positive manner.” European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager echoed this sentiment, highlighting the need for trust and legal safeguards in the AI sector.”

“The proposed law will regulate AI based on the level of risk involved, with higher-risk systems carrying greater obligations to protect individuals’ rights and health. The EU’s high-risk list includes AI used in critical infrastructure, education, human resources, public order, and migration management. Additional conditions, such as the potential to harm people’s health, safety, rights, or the environment, must be met for a system to be classified as high-risk.”

“Special requirements are also outlined for generative AI systems, such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, which are capable of producing text, images, code, audio, and other media. These requirements include informing users that the content was generated by a machine, not a human.”

“Brando Benifei, another MEP leading the law’s progress in parliament, emphasized the need for a “common approach” to address AI risks and urged collaboration with lawmakers worldwide.”

“However, concerns have been raised by rights defenders throughout the process. Last month, parliamentary committee text proposed bans on AI systems employing biometric surveillance, emotion recognition, and predictive policing. Amnesty International’s Mher Hakobyan warned that these bans may be at risk, as there is a possibility that parliament may undermine significant human rights protections agreed upon by parliamentary committees.”

“There are fears that even if the bans are approved, they may not be included in the final law after negotiations with EU member states. Griff Ferris, senior legal and policy officer at the non-governmental organization Fair Trials, expressed concerns that many of these protections could be removed or substantially weakened when state representatives become involved.”

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