EU officials pass draft law to regulate AI and ban facial recognition systems

Lawmakers from the European Union have taken a big step towards regulating the use of artificial intelligence systems in the region by passing a draft law known as the AI Act. As The New York Times notes, it’s merely one part of a longer process, and the soonest we can see the final version of the law is most likely later this year. But if the law gets enforced in its current form, then the European Union will be banning the use of real-time and remote biometric systems, such as facial recognition scanning. 

It will also prohibit devices that exhibit cognitive behavioral manipulation, such as voice activated toys deemed to encourage dangerous behavior in children. Technologies that classify people based on their socio-economic status or personal characteristics will be banned, as well. Meanwhile, technologies considered “high risk” will need to be registered in an EU database. These include AI systems for biometric identification and those for use by law enforcement. 

The European Commission first proposed the AI Act back in April 2021. That was way before the meteoric rise in popularity of generative AI systems, which led to a rise in calls for artificial intelligence to be regulated. The version the lawmakers have voted on included rules for generative AI companies like OpenAI, including requiring them to disclose any content generated by artificial intelligence. These companies will also be required to ensure that their large language models can’t generate illegal content. Also, they will have to publish summaries of copyrighted data used to train their models. 

Representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union still have to negotiate details for the final version of the law. They could decide to change some aspects of it and add certain exemptions, such as allowing the use of facial recognition for national security purposes. The AI Act would likely go through several iterations after this vote, though EU officials are hoping to finalize details by the end of the year. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/eu-officials-pass-draft-law-to-regulate-ai-and-ban-facial-recognition-systems-070056032.html?src=rss


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