Overview of the EU AI Act

This year will be significant in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and law, as the European Union is scheduled to roll out a piece of far-reaching legislation that is dedicated to regulating artificial intelligence systems.

The EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) is intended to take effect in each of the 27 Member States without the need for each to transpose it locally into national laws.

Once effective, AI placed on the EU market will be subject to the AI Act on a sliding scale based on the risk posed by the intended use of that AI. For instance:

  • Social scoring systems and AI that remotely monitors people in real time in public spaces will be banned in most instances.
  • AI used in medical devices or for the purposes of recruitment will be classed as high-risk and subject to stringent and far-reaching conformity assessment procedures.
  • Deep fakes will be subject to transparency rules to ensure the public know exactly the nature of the technology they are dealing with.

The second of these categories, the high-risk AI category, will generate the most change for providers of AI systems. There is a list of seven detailed requirements which will likely cause many providers to significantly adjust their engineering processes and product procedures to ensure compliance. These are:

  • Risk management system
  • Accuracy, robustness and cybersecurity
  • Data and data governance
  • Human oversight
  • Transparency and provision of information to users
  • Record keeping
  • Technical Documentation

Find out more about the four categories of risk under the AI Act.

What is the scope of the EU AI Act?

The scope of application of the AI Act will be very broad. Deploying or using qualifying AI systems in the EU will trigger compliance regardless of the location or group structure of the provider. Other actors in the AI economic chain will be subject to regulation also.

Fines for non-compliance will be significant and may even be higher than those levied under GDPR.

Find out more about who will be affected by the AI Act.

How will generative AI like ChatGPT be treated under the EU AI Act?

Generative AI is referred to as General Purpose AI in the EU AI Act. The draft AI Act defines a ‘general purpose AI system’ as one that is intended by the provider to perform generally applicable functions such as image and speech recognition, audio and video generation, pattern detection, question answering, translation and others. A general purpose AI system may also be one that is used in many different contexts and can be integrated into many other AI systems.

Find out more about General Purpose AI under the EU AI Act or read about how Chatbots and Deepfakes will be regulated under the Act.

When will the AI Act come into force?

The EU Artificial Intelligence Act is expected to come into force this year or next year.

Once signed into law providers of AI systems will be expected to comply within 24 or 36 months.

For more information on the EU AI Act or its impacts, contact a member of our dedicated Artificial Intelligence team.

The content of these articles are provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.