The European Commission tabled a proposal for an EU regulatory framework on artificial intelligence (AI) in April 2021. The draft AI act is the first ever attempt to enact a horizontal regulation for AI. The proposed legal framework focuses on the specific utilisation of AI systems and associated risks. The Commission proposes to establish a technology-neutral definition of AI systems in EU law and to lay down a classification for AI systems with different requirements and obligations tailored on a ‘risk-based approach’. Some AI systems presenting ‘unacceptable’ risks would be prohibited. A wide range of ‘high-risk’ AI systems would be authorised, but subject to a set of requirements and obligations to gain access to the EU market. Those AI systems presenting only ‘limited risk’ would be subject to very light transparency obligations.
The Council agreed the EU Member States’ general position in December 2021. Parliament voted on its position in June 2023. EU lawmakers are now starting negotiations to finalise the new legislation, with substantial amendments to the Commission’s proposal including revising the definition of AI systems, broadening the list of prohibited AI systems, and imposing obligations on general purpose AI and generative AI models such as ChatGPT. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.