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Margrethe Vestager has stated that the European Union will regulate AI before the end of 2023. The commissioner for digital tech says that the EU is set to lead the way in regulating artificial intelligence.

Margrethe Vestager is the European Commissioner for Competition and is also tasked with leading the bloc’s “strategy for a Digital Age”. While speaking at a G7 digital ministers’ meeting in Japan, Vestager told Reuters that the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act was “pro-innovation” since it seeks to mitigate the risks of societal damage from emerging technologies.

Members of the European Parliament agreed last week to push through the draft of the EU AI Act to a vote by a committee of lawmakers on May 11. Under the Union’s procedures, Parliament must then agree the bill’s final details with the EU member states and the European Commission before it can become law.

The bloc will likely be the first to set up necessary “guardrails” to rein in AI development. “The reason why we have these guardrails for high-risk use cases is that cleaning up … after a misuse by AI would be so much more expensive and damaging than the use case of AI in itself,” Vestager said.

Managing AI’s “enormous influence”

The EU’s AI aw may be passed this year, but it will take a few years before it comes fully into force. However, this should not stop businesses and societies from implementing the necessary accommodations and safeguards.

“There was no reason to hesitate and to wait for the legislation to be passed to accelerate the necessary discussions to provide the changes in all the systems where AI will have an enormous influence,” Vestager said in an interview.

“Now when everyone has AI at their fingertips, (…) there’s a need for us to show the political leadership to make sure that one can safely use AI and gain all the amazing possibilities of improvement in productivity and better services,” Vestager told Reuters.