General Purpose AI and the EU AI Act

Generative AI or General Purpose AI as it is referred to in the AI Act is everywhere right now thanks to the release of large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

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.

It is likely that this this form of artificial intelligence will be dealt with in a manner similar to the high-risk AI category. However, it looks like the EU may take a slightly different approach to what that high risk assessment looks like. It may issue a companion piece of legislation that will stipulate how the seven high-risk criteria should be tailored for general purpose AI and this would be based on a consultation and impact assessments considering the specific characteristics of these systems.

Right now, the EU is also contemplating a specific exemption for general purpose AI when the provider has explicitly excluded all high-risk uses in the instructions of use or information accompanying that AI system.

Only time will tell regarding the details of the regulation of this technology but given its power and influence it is not likely at this stage to be anything less than some flavour of high risk.

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.