EU votes on first-ever regulations for safe and transparent AI

The AI Act could be set in motion as early as the end of the year.
Loukia Papadopoulos
EU flag digitized
EU set to regulate AI


On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on its negotiating position on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act with 499 votes in favor, 28 against and 93 abstentions, according to a press release by the organization.

The statement said that “the rules would ensure that AI developed and used in Europe is fully in line with EU rights and values including human oversight, safety, privacy, transparency, non-discrimination and social and environmental wellbeing.”

The EU further outlined what constituted prohibited AI practices, what was considered high-risk AI, as well as obligations for general-purpose AI. The organization also promised to continue to boost innovation while protecting citizens’ rights. 

Once member states complete their negotiations on the AI Act, the new and thorough regulations could dramatically affect biometric surveillance, data privacy, and AI development within the European Union. 

The act could be finalized and set into motion by the end of this year.

All eyes on the EU

After the vote, co-rapporteur Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy) said in the statement: “All eyes are on us today. While Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm over their own creations, Europe has gone ahead and proposed a concrete response to the risks AI is starting to pose. We want AI’s positive potential for creativity and productivity to be harnessed but we will also fight to protect our position and counter dangers to our democracies and freedoms during the negotiations with Council.”

In the meantime, the U.K. announced that universities across the nation would benefit from a significant £54 million investment in their work to develop cutting-edge AI technology, Technology Secretary Chloe Smith revealed yesterday.

“Despite our size as a small island nation, the UK is a technology powerhouse. Last year, the UK became just the third country in the world to have a tech sector valued at $1 trillion. It is the biggest in Europe by some distance and behind only the US and China globally,” Smith said.

“The technology landscape, though, is constantly evolving, and we need a tech ecosystem which can respond to those shifting sands, harness its opportunities, and address emerging challenges. The measures unveiled today will do exactly that.”

“We’re investing in our AI talent pipeline with a £54 million package to develop trustworthy and secure artificial intelligence, and putting our best foot forward as a global leader in tech both now, and in the years to come," concluded Smith, according to a government statement.

Last month, ChatGPT creators, OpenAI announced ten $100,000 grants for anyone with good ideas on how AI can be governed to help address bias and other factors. Meanwhile, a mere two weeks ago, U.S. Senators introduced two separate bipartisan bills addressing AI to tackle issues surrounding the technology and to remain “competitive."