EU member nations unanimously reached an agreement on the AI Act, a pivotal move in regulating the rapidly evolving AI sector. The AI Act primarily focuses on overseeing advanced AI technologies, imposing responsibilities on AI companies related to privacy, transparency, and stress-testing.
The Act aims to prohibit AI usage in certain high-risk areas. However, concerns have been raised about potential impediments to AI innovation in the EU, potentially giving a competitive edge to the U.S. and China.
Despite initial skepticism from countries like France, Germany, Austria, and Italy, the deal was forged after extensive negotiations involving representatives from the Council, European Parliament, and European Commission officials.
The EU is among the first blocs to establish comprehensive AI regulations, in contrast to the G7 and OECD, which have struggled to reach a consensus.
Earlier hesitations from major economies like Germany and France were centered around worries that the regulatory burden could impede the progress of AI champions within the bloc, such as Mistral in France and Aleph Alpha in Germany. Austria expressed reservations about data protection provisions.
To address these concerns, the EU proposed the establishment of the EU's AI Office. This move helped address apprehensions, with the EU Commission committing to resolving issues raised by Germany, France, and Austria before formal declarations.
The next step involves the approval of the act by the EU parliament, with a plenary vote expected in April.