EU Lawmakers Vote for Tougher AI Rules as Draft Moves to Final Stage

EU lawmakers on Wednesday voted for tougher landmark draft artificial intelligence rules that include a ban on the use of the technology in biometric surveillance and for generative AI systems like ChatGPT to disclose AI-generated content.

The lawmakers agreed to the amendments to the draft legislation proposed by the European Commission which is seeking to set a global standard for the technology used in everything from automated factories to bots and self-driving cars.

Rapid adoption of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other bots has led top AI scientists and company executives including Elon Musk and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to raise the potential risks posed to society.

“While Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm over their own creations, Europe has gone ahead and proposed a concrete response to the risks AI is starting to pose,” said Brando Benifei, co-rapporteur of the draft act.

Among other changes, European Union lawmakers want any company using generative tools to disclose copyrighted material used to train its systems and for companies working on “high-risk application” to do a fundamental rights impact assessment and evaluate environmental impact.

Microsoft, which has called for AI rules, welcomed the lawmakers’ agreement.

“We believe that AI requires legislative guardrails, alignment efforts at an international level, and meaningful voluntary actions by companies that develop and deploy AI,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

However, the Computer and Communications Industry Association said the amendments on high-risk AIs were likely to overburden European AI developers with “excessively prescriptive rules” and slow down innovation.

“AI raises a lot of questions – socially, ethically, economically. But now is not the time to hit any ‘pause button’. On the contrary, it is about acting fast and taking responsibility,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.

The Commission announced its draft rules two years ago aimed at setting a global standard for a technology key to almost every industry and business and in a bid to catch up with AI leaders the United States and China.

The lawmakers will now have to thrash out details with European Union countries before the draft rules become legislation. 

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