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Artificial Intelligence Act: Will U.S. regulate AI now that European Union passes comprehensive law?

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  • Staff Report 

European Union lawmakers have made history by giving the final nod to the Artificial Intelligence Act, marking a significant step towards regulating the rapidly evolving field of AI. This legislation, which is expected to be enacted later this year, aims to ensure that AI development remains human-centric, promoting societal progress and economic growth without compromising consumer safety.

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Challenges Ahead for ByteDance

The law suggests a lifeline for TikTok by allowing its operation in the U.S. if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, divests ownership. Despite potential buyers expressing interest, experts highlight the complexity of finding a suitable purchaser within the six-month timeframe, especially considering the scrutiny from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and China.

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The AI Act Explained

Adopting a “risk-based approach,” the AI Act focuses on consumer safety, applying more stringent scrutiny to high-risk AI applications, such as those used in medical devices or critical infrastructure. It outright bans AI uses considered to pose unacceptable risks, including certain predictive policing methods and emotion recognition systems in schools and workplaces.

Generative AI Under the Microscope

In light of the advancements in generative AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the legislation has been updated to include provisions for these technologies. This includes requiring developers to provide detailed summaries of the data used to train these systems and to comply with EU copyright law. The law also mandates extra scrutiny for the most powerful AI models, addressing concerns about their potential misuse and the spread of harmful biases.

Global Influence and Next Steps

The EU’s pioneering effort in AI regulation is setting a standard for the rest of the world, with other nations and global organizations moving to establish their own AI guidelines. The AI Act is poised to officially become law by mid-2024, with its provisions being implemented in stages. Violations could result in fines up to €35 million or 7% of a company’s global revenue, underscoring the EU’s commitment to stringent enforcement.

As Europe leads the way in AI governance, the global community watches closely, considering the implications for the future of technology, privacy, and consumer protection worldwide.

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