The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, or AI, has captivated millions with its ability to compose music, write essays, and perfectly mimic the human voice. But it has also raised fears about its ability to produce convincing fake news and to manipulate public opinion. That’s why the European Union is racing to draw up rules to regulate it in an ambitious bill called the AI Act.
On 11 May 2023, members of the European Parliament passed their compromise text of the AI Act at the committee stage, taking this law a step closer to being finalised. The AI Act is a proposed European law on artificial intelligence (AI) – the first law on AI by a major regulator anywhere.
The law assigns applications of AI to three risk categories.
- First, applications and systems that create an unacceptable risk, such as government-run social scoring of the type used in China, are banned.
- Second, high-risk applications, such as a CV-scanning tool that ranks job applicants, are subject to specific legal requirements.
- Lastly, applications not explicitly banned or listed as high-risk are largely left unregulated.
AI systems used in high-risk categories like employment and education, which would affect the course of a person’s life, will also face tough requirements such as being more transparent and using accurate data. Violations will draw fines of up to 7% of a company’s annual global revenue.
AI applications influence what information you see online by predicting what content is engaging to you, capture and analyse data from faces to enforce laws or personalise advertisements and are used to diagnose and treat cancer. In other words, AI affects many parts of your life.
The European Union introduced the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) on April 21, 2021. Since then, a number of other countries have started introducing their own form of legislation or guidelines. Like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the EU AI Act could become a global standard, determining to what extent AI has a positive rather than negative effect on your life wherever you may be.
The Parliament Draft will shortly face the vote of the European Parliament before the three-way negotiations of the AI Act between lawmakers, EU member states, and the Commission, known as “trilogues”, starts. The Act then is expected to come into force towards the end of 2023, when it will take effect in the 27 EU Member States without the need to be transposed into national laws. Therefore, it will apply directly in Ireland once enacted and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. There is expected to be a transition period to allow providers of AI systems time to comply and which is anticipated to be between 24 and 36 months.
NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email email@example.com.