EU’s AI Act to Take Effect Next Month 

The key regulations on AI set by Europe are expected to be effective as of next month, after EU countries reach a political deal in December. 

The key regulations on AI set by Europe are expected to be effective as of next month, after European Union (EU) countries reach a political deal in December. 

This step could set a global benchmark for the use of AI within various industries, having an impact on both businesses and daily life. 

In contrast, the EU’s act is known to be of a more comprehensive nature compared to the approach adopted by the U.S., which gives tech companies the opportunity to comply voluntarily. This also differs from China’s strategy, which emphasizes social stability and state control when regulating AI. 

The decision related to putting this Act into effect, came after EU lawmakers backed the AI legislation proposed by the European Commission in 2021, making some key changes. Moreover, concerns related to AI’s role in spreading misinformation, fake news, and copyrighted material are growing increasingly worldwide, and this is due the surge of AI systems, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. 

According to Belgian digitization minister Mathieu Michel, this AI Act is unique, highlighting its global importance in tackling technological challenges and creating opportunities for societies and economies. He also pointed out the need for trust and transparency in the management of new technologies and mainly AI, in a way that ensures its growth and innovation in Europe. 

The Act puts strict transparency requirements on AI systems with high risk, while imposing less obligations on general purpose AI systems. It also restricts governments to use real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces for specific cases, such as the prevention of terrorist attacks and searches for individual suspected of serious crimes. 

In parallel, Patrick van Eecke, a legal expert at Cooley, noted that this legislation will have an impact not only on the EU, but on global companies that have access to EU customer data in their AI platforms. Eecke also expects other countries and regions to adopt this Act as a model, the same way they did for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

The AI act is set to be effective in 2026, but some bans such as those on the use of AI n social scoring, predictive policing, and untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage, will come into effect six months after the regulation is enacted. Additionally, the obligations of general-purpose AI models will be applicable after 12 months, and rules for AI systems integrated into regulated products will be imposed in 36 months. 

It is worth mentioning that breach of the AI Act could result in fines ranging from 7.5 million € ($8.2 million) or 1.5% of turnover to 35 million €or 7% of global turnover, depending on the severity of the breach. 

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