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EU’s 27 Nations Approve Final Text of “Artificial Intelligence Act”

According to reports, representatives of the 27 EU countries recently confirmed the final negotiated text of the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), marking the passage of the "last significant hurdle" for the world's first comprehensive AI regulatory legislation. These rules were proposed by the EU Commission three years ago and aim to establish global standards for technology used in various industries such as banking, retail, automotive, and aviation…

According to reports, representatives of the 27 EU countries recently confirmed the final negotiated text of the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act).

However, the AI Act still needs approval from the European Parliament. If approved, the relevant rules will be implemented in stages, with some prohibitive rules taking effect six months after the law is passed, and certain rules related to general AI models will apply from 2025.

The EU Commission proposed a draft negotiating mandate for the AI Act in April 2021. In December of last year, an agreement was reached on the AI Act among the European Parliament, EU member states, and the EU Commission. Subsequently, some countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, expressed objections to the text of the act, calling for a focus on regulating AI applications rather than AI technology. There were also concerns that strict regulation of advanced AI models under the act would hinder the development of AI in Europe.

It is worth noting that some AI companies in countries such as France and Germany have been actively lobbying their respective governments to ensure that, under the “most comprehensive AI regulatory rules on Earth,” they can still develop cutting-edge AI technology locally in Europe.

To address these concerns, the EU Commission has introduced several measures to support innovation in the field of AI, including establishing a new regulatory body, the “AI Office,” responsible for implementing the AI Act. On February 2, Thierry Breton, the EU Internal Market Commissioner, stated on social media that the unanimous support of the 27 countries for this legislation indicates their recognition that the negotiators have found a “perfect balance between innovation and safety.”

In fact, despite the unanimous approval of the final legislation by member states, some countries, including France and Germany, expressed objections earlier this week, before the technical details of the final act were unanimously approved. It was not until January 30 that the German Federal Minister for Digitalization, Volker Wissing, announced the end of the debate on Germany’s position on the AI Act. France, on the other hand, gave its approval on Friday, citing achieved “balance between transparency and business secrets” and reduced administrative burdens for managing high-risk AI systems.

However, the lobbying group CCIA, consisting of tech giants such as Apple, Google, Meta, still expresses unease about EU AI legislation.

“Many new AI rules remain unclear and could slow down the development and deployment of innovative AI applications in Europe,” said Boniface de Champris, Senior Policy Manager at CCIA Europe. “Therefore, the correct implementation of this legislation is crucial to ensuring that AI rules do not impose an excessive burden on businesses seeking innovation and competition in a vibrant, highly dynamic market.”

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