On July 16, 2020, the European Union reached a provisional agreement on a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, paving the way for a landmark law that would bring regulation and consistency to the rapidly developing field.
Once fully adopted, the AI Act will become the first such supranational level of legal regulation and set out guidelines for governing the use of AI-based solutions by the European Union and its affiliated member states.
In addition to establishing a comprehensive legal framework, the AI Act also seeks to promote ethical implementation of AI solutions and ensure trust among both businesses and citizens. The groundbreaking initiative has been incredibly ambitious and holistic in its approach, encompassing not just technical concerns but also the economic and social impact of AI.
At its core, the AI Act concentrates on clearly defining parameters for high-risk AI use. These parameters are derived from evaluating the consequence of the automated decisions made using AI technologies, and the protection of fundamental rights of citizens.
While the high-risk AI use is subject to stringent requirements, other uses are still bound by general regulations like data privacy and ethical usage of artificial intelligence. These requirements will be applicable to all AI solutions, including those that implement facial recognition.
The main goal of the AI Act is to provide a safe and consistent legislative environment in which businesses, innovators, and investors can safely develop and utilize AI solutions. At the same time, it establishes a human-centric approach, placing ethical considerations at its core and emphasizing the critical importance of people-centric AI implementation.
The AI Act is expected to enter into force by 2021, though it will still require full approval by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union.
In the meantime, the European Commission has already issued guidelines in the form of a white paper and consulted with industry and civil society, setting out parameters of the regulation and moving closer to the ever-urgent goal of providing a healthy and safe environment for the responsible use of artificial intelligence.