European Union officials reached a landmark deal Friday on regulating artificial intelligence rules around artificial intelligence (AI) in systems like ChatGPT and facial recognition.
The proposals lay the groundwork for the Artificial Intelligence Act, which will be voted on by the European Parliament and Council next year and will come into effect in 2025.
The legislation, if passed, would be the world's first comprehensive rules to regulate the use of artificial intelligence, paving the way for legal oversight of AI technology.
"Deal!" European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton posted on X just before midnight Friday.
"The EU becomes the very first continent to set clear rules for the use of AI."
The law would ban applications that use cognitive behavioral manipulations as well as systems that use facial images from the internet or CCTV footage in order to create facial recognition databases.
Other banned systems would include those that use social scoring biometric categorization systems to infer political, religious, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation and race.
The law would also limit the use of biometric identification systems used by law enforcement, a key sticking point that resulted in negotiations pausing on Thursday as some member states had advocated for its use. However, there are exemptions for targeted searches of victims in abduction, trafficking and sexual exploitation cases, as well as preventing specific and present terrorist threats.
Consumers would have the right to launch complaints, while fines for violations would range from $8.1 million or 1.5% of turnover to $37.7 million euros or 7% of global turnover.
The European Union has been pushing to draw up guardrails for artificial intelligence for years, and with the recent advances in chatbots such as ChatGPT, the efforts have taken on more urgency.
Generative AI systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have exploded into the world’s consciousness, dazzling users with the ability to produce human-like text, photos and songs but raising fears about the risks the rapidly developing technology poses to jobs, privacy and copyright protection and even human life itself.
The accord requires foundation models such as ChatGPT and general purpose AI systems (GPAI) to comply with transparency obligations before they are put on the market. These include drawing up technical documentation, complying with EU copyright law and disseminating detailed summaries about the content used for training.
Brando Benifei, an Italian lawmaker co-leading the body’s negotiating efforts, welcomed the deal.
"It was long and intense, but the effort was worth it," Benifei said.
"Thanks to the European Parliament’s resilience, the world’s first horizontal legislation on artificial intelligence will keep the European promise, ensuring that rights and freedoms are at the center of the development of this ground-breaking technology. Correct implementation will be key. The Parliament will continue to keep a close eye, to ensure support for new business ideas with sandboxes, and effective rules for the most powerful models."
Dragos Tudorachem, a Romanian lawmaker involved in the negotiations, said the rules will safeguard citizens and E.U. democracies against any abuses of technology by public authorities.
"It protects our SMEs (small and midsize enterprises), strengthens our capacity to innovate and lead in the field of AI and protects vulnerable sectors of our economy," Tudorachem said.
"The European Union has made impressive contributions to the world; the AI Act is another one that will significantly impact our digital future."
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.