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EC proposes tough new AI rules including 6% of turnover for violations

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The European Commission is seeking to govern the impact of AI on humans and business.

The EC proposed new rules to cover the impact of AI on humans and businesses. It wants a trustworthy environment for the development of innovative products and services in the European Union (EU).

Trust is a must

The EC said the rules would take a risk-based approach to AI, looking to balance promoting the technology – which it sees as key to economic growth in Europe – with protecting people. It also wants to be seen as setting a global standard.

The EC’s EVP Margrethe Vestager oversees digital strategy in Europe and competition. She said the regulations will be “future-proof and innovation-friendly”.

She also said, “On artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted.”

Clear threat

It intends to prohibit AI systems that are “a clear threat” to safety, livelihoods and rights of people, including services that manipulate human behaviour “to circumvent users’ free will” or allow government-developed social credit systems.

The plan is to enforce compliance with the proposed rules by hefty fines for violations – whichever is the greater of 6% of a firm’s global turnover or €30 million – and to set strict safeguards for high-risk applications, could help the EU take the lead in regulating AI.

Applications that enable governments to use AI for social scoring or to exploit children will be banned, and AI applications for recruitment, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration and law enforcement subject to rigorous safeguards.

Strict oversight

Another area that the EC said would be overseen strictly is biometric means of identification – their use in public spaces will be limited to specific purposes such as investigating terrorists or to help find missing children.

The EC started the public consultation on the use of AI last year, saying it wanted to provide incentives to accelerate the use of AI in the EU.

Next the EC to iron out the details with EU member states’ governments and the European Parliament before the rules can come into force. It won’t be quick.