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New EU Artificial Intelligence Law Will Have Global Implications


According to A. Krasodomski and M. Buchser

The European Parliament has passed the landmark Artificial Intelligence Act, a sweeping piece of legislation aimed at addressing the risks posed by rapidly evolving technologies. It threatens a blanket ban on artificial intelligence applications that pose unacceptable risks to the security, livelihoods and rights of EU citizens (this includes, for example, cognitive behavioral manipulation, social ranking or biometric identification).

The law also imposes significant obligations on the use of AI in “high-risk” applications such as healthcare, critical infrastructure, border control, education, justice and everyday services used by European citizens. The law will apply to businesses operating in the EU and, crucially, to the tech giants that create the artificial intelligence products used by Europeans every day.

Following the Digital Market and Digital Services Acts passed in 2022, the Artificial Intelligence Act was a new technology-related law passed by the European Parliament and Commission in 2019–2024 as part of their mission to create a “Europe fit for the digital age.” " This law is a clear statement that Europe believes it can both regulate AI and remain open for business. The lengthy debate surrounding the bill has focused on the risk of harming artificial intelligence businesses on the continent. The law was changed again and again to address the concerns of France, Germany, Italy and other countries for which the complete dominance of American companies in mature digital technology markets was a mistake they did not want to repeat.

It is hoped that a commitment to co-regulatory approaches, iterative change and new policy instruments will strike the right balance between supporting new markets for safe AI applications and the freedom of industry to develop new technologies, products, services and industries under regulatory oversight.

However, it is by no means guaranteed that the AI Act will set global norms. The first mover advantage in technology regulation is significant, but the EU is not alone. China has made significant efforts to regulate AI and, importantly, has made significant strides in setting standards along with creating rules. Chinese innovations in AI auditing and disclosure, as well as standards built into the export of AI-enabled technologies such as autonomous vehicles or digital tutors, are already having global significance.

However, the Act positions the EU as the world's leading digital rulemaker, setting current privacy standards well beyond the 27 member states. Whether the AI Act will do the same for the use and application of artificial intelligence will be a critical test of how EU regulation helps shape the world's technology.


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