Under the new rules, some biometric categorisation systems will be banned.
Credit: E+ / Getty Images

The European Union has put into place a significant new law to safeguard its citizens from risky AI technology.

The AI Act, endorsed by the EU today, aims to ensure the protection of fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from hazardous AI practices while also promoting innovation and positioning Europe as a frontrunner in the AI sector, as per a press statement.

The directive specifically targets mitigating risks posed by AI applications, banning certain high-risk AI practices, establishing clear guidelines for high-risk AI, setting forth duties, compliance measures, and enforcement actions for those deploying high-risk AI technologies.


5 ways AI changed the internet in 2023

Some of the applications prohibited under this new regulation encompass:

  • Biometric categorisation systems relying on sensitive features and indiscriminate collection of facial images from the web or CCTV footage to build facial recognition databanks,

  • Emotion recognition in workplaces and educational institutions,

  • Social scoring,

  • Predictive policing solely based on profiling individuals or evaluating their attributes, and

  • AI designed to influence human behavior or exploit people’s vulnerabilities.

Exceptions exist for law enforcement purposes, while certain types of applications are either completely banned or permissible only in specific circumstances. For instance, real-time biometric identification systems can be deployed only under stringent conditions, including the necessity for specific prior judicial or administrative authorization. These systems might be used in instances involving missing persons or terrorist threats.

General-purpose AI (GPAI) systems must adhere to the EU’s transparency regulations, including compliance with EU copyright laws. High-powered GPAI systems will need to meet additional criteria, such as systematic risk evaluations and the provision of incident reports. All artificially generated or altered images, audio, or video content (often referred to as deepfakes) must be clearly identified as such.

Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament, hailed the AI Act as “pioneering.”

“It means leadership, innovation & new avenues. But equally respect for fundamental rights,” she tweeted.

European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, labeled the new regulations as “the world’s 1st comprehensive, binding rules for trusted AI,” emphasizing the EU’s approach to regulation as being as minimal as possible yet as extensive as necessary!


Elon Musk is entering the world of artificial intelligence

The AI Act is currently undergoing final checks and requires formal endorsement by the European Council. It is expected to take effect 20 days after publication in the EU’s official Journal, which is anticipated soon, and will be fully enforceable two years thereafter — except in more severe cases such as banned practices, where it will apply six months post-enforcement.

Artificial Intelligence

Stan Schroeder

Stan Schroeder
Senior Editor

Stan is a Senior Editor at Mashable, where he has worked since 2007. He’s got more battery-powered gadgets and band t-shirts than you. He writes about the next groundbreaking thing. Typically, this is a phone, a coin, or a car. His ultimate goal is to know something about everything.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *