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The responsible parliamentary committees have approved the EU AI Act in a vote on Thursday that paves the way for plenary adoption in mid-June.

This week the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Internal Market committees jointly adopted the text of a proposed EU Artificial Intelligence Act by large majorities.

The Act, which has been in the works since 2021, seeks to identify and address the dangers posed to the public by artificial intelligence, especially in the areas of copyright and personal privacy.

If passed into law, it could be the first set of rules in the world governing the use of AI.

Defining the types of AI

The EU AI Act will assign risk-factors to each AI product or platform. These categorisations range from unacceptable to minimal. The yardstick will allow developers and engineers to gauge how to introduce their AI product into the European market.

The new act will ban all AI systems it categorises as “unacceptable” in the EU. Examples include harmful or abusive practices or that include social credit scoring, or anything that could encourage dangerous behaviour in children.

Legislators have divided the “General Purpose AI” categories (GPAI) into tiers for the purposes of regulation. The bulk of the reporting and regulatory burden regarding GPAI will fall on the economic operators that integrate these systems into an application considered at risk of posing dangers to the public regarding people’s health, safety, or fundamental rights.

Regulating “high-risk” applications

The top tier of GPAI is reserved for generative AI models like ChatGPT. These types of services would also have to disclose whenever a text is AI-generated. In addition, they will have to provide a detailed summary of the training data covered by copyright law.

The providers of any “high risk” AI face more prescriptive regulation. This is the case especially with regard to risk management, data governance, technical documentation and record keeping.

The committee vote in parliament is just the first step in an arduous legislative process. If the EU AI Act passes in the EU plenary session next month as planned, then the bloc will be able to pass the Act on to the European Council for negotiations. At that point, all EU member states will have the opportunity to provide input on the law’s final form.