Over the last couple of years, European legislators, authorities and various bodies have intensified their efforts and each month strived for a better, bigger and more comprehensive regulation of artificial intelligence. On 21 April 2021, after over three years of intense works and countless related publications, the European Commission has published its legislative proposal for the Artificial Intelligence Act ("AI Act"). The AI Act combines the legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States and aims to ensure the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while also supporting innovation. "[O]n Artificial Intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have," says Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. "With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted […] Future-proof and innovation-friendly, our rules will intervene where strictly needed: when the safety and fundamental rights of EU citizens are at stake."
The AI Act has already sparked some controversies, especially in the area of high-risk AI and practices which, according to the AI Act, should be limited or even banned. Even though the list of prohibited practices is technically limited to practices which could result in manipulation or detrimental or unfavourable treatment of certain persons, the ambiguity of their description could lead to a slowdown or, in certain areas, even the discontinuation of the innovation and use of AI. This is due to the high fines for non-compliance with the AI Act, which can reach EUR 30m or up to 6 % of total worldwide annual turnover for the preceding financial year.
The first four months of 2021 were packed with tech-related news. You can find the full article on the AI Act here. You can also read about the new European blockchain platform, a German law allowing special funds to invest in crypto assets, and more. All below!