European Parliament Committees Greenlight Groundbreaking EU AI Act


  • EU AI Act poised to set global standard in AI governance, addressing ethical concerns.
  • Dissenters warn of potential pitfalls in AI surveillance despite overwhelming support.
  • Expert perspectives emphasize need for international collaboration on AI regulation.

The European Union (EU) takes a significant stride towards regulating artificial intelligence (AI) as two key committees of the European Parliament come to a provisional agreement on the EU AI Act. This legislation is anticipated to set a global precedent for AI governance, with implications that extend far beyond the EU’s borders.

EU lawmakers ratify pivotal agreement on AI governance

European lawmakers ratified a provisional agreement that outlines the future governance of AI, marking a crucial step towards the implementation of landmark legislation. The agreement, approved by the European Parliament’s civil liberties (LIBE) and internal market (IMCO) committees, garnered an overwhelming vote of 71-8.

The EU AI Act, originally proposed in April 2021, gained momentum in response to the exponential growth of AI, notably fueled by the success of systems like the OpenAI chatbot, ChatGPT. The Act aims to regulate various aspects of AI, including high-risk applications, and rein in governments’ use of biometric surveillance. 

If passed in April as expected, the Act will be rolled out in phases between 2024 and 2027, gradually implementing legal requirements targeting high-risk AI applications.

Despite widespread support, dissenters, including LIBE committee member Patrick Breyer, voiced concerns about the Act’s adequacy in safeguarding individual rights. Breyer highlighted potential issues regarding permanent biometric mass surveillance, cautioning against the normalization of a culture of mistrust and the evolution towards a dystopian surveillance state.

EU member states’ endorsement

Earlier this month, EU member states endorsed the AI Act deal reached in December, signaling broader support for the legislation’s implementation. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital chief, emphasized the urgency of enacting the AI Act, citing recent incidents such as the dissemination of fake sexually explicit images of pop star Taylor Swift on social media as indicative of the potential harms of AI misuse.

Var Shankar, the executive director of the Responsible AI Institute, hailed the EU AI Act as a comprehensive approach to AI governance, positioning the EU as a global leader in setting AI regulations. However, Shankar noted uncertainties regarding whether the Act would lead to a “Brussels-effect” akin to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), given the existing AI governance models in the US and China.

Looking towards international standards

Shankar highlighted the importance of international AI standards and initiatives such as the G7’s Hiroshima cod of Conduct for Advanced AI Systems in fostering an international consensus on responsible AI implementation. Organizations are closely monitoring these developments as they navigate the evolving landscape of AI governance and regulation.

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Emman Omwanda

Emmanuel Omwanda is a blockchain reporter who dives deep into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and more. His expertise lies in cryptocurrency markets, spanning both fundamental and technical analysis.

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