Brussels expects EU agreement on AI this year

Admits, even so, “this won’t keep up with speed of the technology”

The European Commission expects agreement in the European Union (EU) this year on the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) law, although it admits the new rules will not come into force until 2025, and therefore cannot hope to keep up with the speed of this developing technology.

“We hope to have the first trilogue (discussion between co-legislators) on the AI law in Europe before the summer, which would mean that if we work hard, we could have a result by the end of the year,” the European Commission’s executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager told Lusa in interview yesterday. Ms Vestager is in charge of the EU brief, dubbed “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition”.

She stressed that even with an agreement this year at European level, it “would still take at least one, if not two years, (for any legislation) to come into force”.

“Which means we need something to bridge that time period, because the development of AI right now seems to be exponential (…)  a lot of good things can be said about democracy, but the speed of (our) work is not exponential (…) this is not criticising anyone, (…) it just means that there are a huge number of issues to be discussed when it comes to making full use of this technology”.

Vestager agreed that AI “has been a constant on the agenda” between the EU and the United States, notably because “there is a huge potential for productivity and one of the concerns in the European Union is that productivity growth has been rather slow.”

The pace of negotiations at EU level on this law, proposed two years ago, has also been slow, Lusa continues.

The European Commission presented a proposal to regulate AI systems in April 2021. It was the first legislation at EU level aiming to safeguard the EU’s fundamental values and rights, and the safety of users by obliging systems considered to be high-risk to meet mandatory requirements related to their reliability.

Additional requirements are expected to be introduced to address risks, such as human supervision or clear information obligations on the capabilities and limitations of artificial intelligence.

AI is increasingly being used in areas such as entertainment (personalisation of content), online commerce (predicting consumer tastes), household appliances (intelligent programming) and electronic equipment (use of virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa, among an increasing number of others).

The European Commission has been trying to strengthen cooperation between member states regarding AI, but there is still no common legal framework, so the goal is to move from a voluntary approach to the regulatory sphere… as soon as humanly possible.

Source material: LUSA