European Parliament Endorses Groundbreaking Rules on AI, Prioritizing Human-Centric Approach

European Parliament Endorses Groundbreaking Rules on AI, Prioritizing Human-Centric Approach

(IN BRIEF) MEPs endorse new rules on Artificial Intelligence, advancing human-centric approach in Europe. The proposed regulations aim to ensure transparency, risk-management, and ethical development of AI systems. MEPs expanded the list of prohibited AI practices, including bans on intrusive and discriminatory uses. High-risk AI areas were broadened to include health, safety, fundamental rights, environment, and voter influence. Transparency measures were introduced for foundation models and generative models. The regulations also support innovation through exemptions for research activities and promote citizens’ rights to file complaints and receive explanations about AI systems. The EU AI Office will monitor implementation.

(PRESS RELEASE) BRUSSELS, 11-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Parliament, the EU’s only directly-elected institution and one of the legislative bodies of the European Union, announces that it took a significant step toward regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Europe by endorsing new transparency and risk-management rules for AI systems. The Internal Market Committee and the Civil Liberties Committee approved a draft negotiating mandate with an overwhelming majority of 84 votes in favor, 7 against, and 12 abstentions. The proposed amendments aim to ensure the oversight, safety, transparency, traceability, non-discrimination, and environmental sustainability of AI systems. MEPs seek a unified, technology-neutral definition of AI that can apply to both current and future systems.

Risk-Based Approach and Prohibited Practices

The rules adopt a risk-based approach, imposing obligations on providers and users according to the level of risk posed by AI systems. Strict prohibitions are placed on AI systems that pose an unacceptable risk to people’s safety, including those employing subliminal techniques, manipulative practices, exploitation of vulnerabilities, or social scoring based on personal characteristics. MEPs expanded the list to include bans on intrusive and discriminatory uses of AI, such as real-time remote biometric identification in public spaces, predictive policing systems, and indiscriminate scraping of biometric data.

High-Risk AI and Transparency Measures

The classification of high-risk areas has been broadened to include potential harm to health, safety, fundamental rights, the environment, voter influence in political campaigns, and recommender systems on social media platforms with a large user base. The rules also introduce obligations for providers of foundation models, ensuring the protection of fundamental rights, health, safety, democracy, and the environment. Transparency requirements for generative foundation models like GPT include disclosing AI-generated content, preventing the generation of illegal content, and publishing summaries of copyrighted data used for training.

Support for Innovation and Citizens’ Rights

To foster AI innovation, exemptions are provided for research activities and AI components distributed under open-source licenses. The regulations support the establishment of regulatory sandboxes for controlled testing of AI before deployment. MEPs emphasize citizens’ rights, including the ability to file complaints about AI systems and receive explanations for decisions made by high-risk AI systems that significantly impact their rights. The role of the EU AI Office is reformed to oversee the implementation of the AI rulebook.

The endorsement of these rules marks a crucial milestone in shaping the development and ethical use of AI, placing Europe at the forefront of human-centric and responsible AI technology.


After the vote, co-rapporteur Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy) said: “We are on the verge of putting in place landmark legislation that must resist the challenge of time. It is crucial to build citizens’ trust in the development of AI, to set the European way for dealing with the extraordinary changes that are already happening, as well as to steer the political debate on AI at the global level. We are confident our text balances the protection of fundamental rights with the need to provide legal certainty to businesses and stimulate innovation in Europe”.

Co-rapporteur Dragos Tudorache (Renew, Romania) said: “Given the profound transformative impact AI will have on our societies and economies, the AI Act is very likely the most important piece of legislation in this mandate. It’s the first piece of legislation of this kind worldwide, which means that the EU can lead the way in making AI human-centric, trustworthy and safe. We have worked to support AI innovation in Europe and to give start-ups, SMEs and industry space to grow and innovate, while protecting fundamental rights, strengthening democratic oversight and ensuring a mature system of AI governance and enforcement.”

Next steps

Before negotiations with the Council on the final form of the law can begin, this draft negotiating mandate needs to be endorsed by the whole Parliament, with the vote expected during the 12-15 June session.

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SOURCE: European Parliament


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