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Recent developments in the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI)

AI Regulation

Recent developments in the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). On March 13, 2024, the European Parliament gave a provisional nod to the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), a pioneering regulation drafted after intensive discussions in 2023. The EU AI Act is a proposed European regulation on artificial intelligence (AI), notable as the first comprehensive regulation of AI by a major regulator worldwide. The Act organizes AI applications into three risk categories to manage potential threats and ensure safety across various implementations. As the AI Act moves towards enforcement, it will be crucial for all AI stakeholders to stay informed and prepared for the changes it will bring. This series aims to provide ongoing insights and analysis to help navigate this evolving landscape. Our Dutch lawyer for Product Compliance shall outline the most important aspects.

EU Artificial Intelligence Act

What’s New with the AI Act in the EU?

This regulation is set to reshape how AI systems are developed and implemented across the EU from May 2025. Originally proposed by the European Commission in April 2021, the EU AI Act aims to address the challenges and risks associated with rapid technological advancements in artificial intelligence. Notably, the legislative process was influenced significantly by the emergence of advanced AI models like ChatGPT in December 2022, prompting amendments that specifically address generative AI technologies. This act was recently adopted by the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and is awaiting a plenary vote scheduled for April 2024.

AI Act: a novel comprehensive framework

The AI Act introduces a novel, comprehensive framework specifically tailored for AI, marking a global first. It classifies AI systems into three risk categories:

  • Unacceptable Risk: This includes AI that could infringe basic human rights, like certain biometric and behavior-manipulating technologies.
  • High Risk: AI in critical areas such as healthcare and law enforcement must adhere to stringent guidelines.
  • Minimal Risk: Most AI systems fall here, posing little to no threat to rights and hence face minimal regulatory oversight.

This act not only mandates rigorous compliance and transparency but also imposes hefty penalties for breaches—up to 35 million euros or 7% of annual global turnover. A dedicated AI Office within the European Commission will oversee these new regulations.

What are the Key Takeaways from the AI Act?

Autonomy and Adaptiveness

The AI Act defines AI systems as machines designed to function with various levels of autonomy and adaptiveness, capable of generating influential outputs from the data they process. This broad definition is crucial as it ensures the Act remains relevant amidst fast-paced technological changes.

Prohibited AI Practices

Certain AI practices are outright banned under the Act, including:

  • Manipulative subliminal techniques.
  • Exploitation of vulnerable groups.
  • Unauthorized real-time biometric identification in public spaces.
  • Social scoring and predictive policing without solid factual foundations.

These prohibitions are designed to prevent significant ethical and privacy violations.

High-Risk AI Systems

The Act introduces strict regulations for high-risk AI applications such as:

  • AI in critical infrastructure.
  • AI in essential private and public services like healthcare and policing.
  • AI used in the democratic process.

These systems require rigorous assessment to ensure safety and compliance with human rights standards.

Exemptions for Specific AI Systems

If an AI system does not significantly risk health, safety, or fundamental rights, it may be exempt from being classified as high-risk. This is particularly pertinent for AI used for narrow tasks that do not influence major decision-making processes.

Comprehensive Obligations for Compliance

AI system providers must meet extensive obligations including thorough risk assessments, maintaining high-quality data standards, and providing clear documentation and user guides to ensure transparency and accountability.

Extended Responsibilities

The Act also delineates responsibilities for various stakeholders in the AI system’s lifecycle, including importers, distributors, and operators, ensuring all parties uphold stringent compliance standards.

Fundamental Rights Impact Assessment

Before deploying high-risk AI, entities must conduct impact assessments to identify potential risks and mitigation strategies, particularly in sensitive sectors like banking and insurance.

Clarifying the Right to Explanation

Under the new regulations, individuals have the right to understand the decisions made by high-risk AI systems, bridging the gap between technology and transparency.

Implications for the Future

The recent developments in the regulation of artificial intelligence sets a precedent for future AI legislation globally. It reflects a growing recognition of the need for comprehensive regulatory frameworks to manage the societal impacts of AI technologies effectively.

What’s the Progress on the EU AI Liability Directive?

Following the preliminary approval of the AI Act, the European Council has signaled a readiness to push forward with the AI Liability Directive (AILD). While still in the preliminary discussion phase, this directive is crucial for consumer protection in the AI landscape. The AILD aims to complement the AI Act by enhancing accountability for AI-induced harm and facilitating easier access to recourse for consumers. This directive will likely increase legal scrutiny and potential litigation for AI enterprises, especially when paired with the broader Product Liability Directive and the EU’s class action framework.

Contact our Dutch Product Law firm

For any legal inquiries or support in the Netherlands about the recent developments in the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), please feel free to contact our adept team at MAAK Advocaten. Committed to excellence, our Dutch lawyers provide superior legal services tailored to your distinct needs. You can reach our law firm in the Netherlands through our website, by email, or phone.

Our approachable and skilled staff at MAAK Attorneys will be delighted to assist you, arranging a meeting with one of our specialized attorneys in the Netherlands. Whether you need a Dutch litigation attorney or a Dutch contract lawyer in Amsterdam, we are eager to guide you through the legal intricacies and secure the most favorable results for your situation.

Contact details

Martin Krüger| Partner Product Compliance
+31 (0)20 – 210 31 38

The information on this legal blog serves purely for educational purposes and should not be taken as specific legal guidance. While we endeavor to maintain accurate and current information, we do not assert its absolute completeness or relevance to your particular situation. For advice tailored to your legal concerns, we urge you to engage with a licensed attorney. Please note that the blog’s content may change without notice, and we are not liable for any inaccuracies or missing information.

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Martin Krüger

Martin Krüger

Our English-speaking Dutch attorney Martin Krüger leads MAAK Attorneys' Product Compliance & Regulation and the Dutch Product Liability Team. His team handles complex product safety and liability issues and, where necessary, assists clients with product withdrawals or recalls. Martin is also an experienced Dutch litigator in commercial disputes between companies and against market surveillance authorities. Visit Martin's profile via the website or via his LinkedIn Profile.