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EU approves landmark AI law, leapfrogging US to regulate worrying new technology | CNN Business




European Union lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a landmark law governing artificial intelligence, leapfrogging the United States once again on the regulation of a critical and disruptive technology.

The first-of-its-kind law is poised to reshape how businesses and organizations in Europe use AI for everything from health care decisions to policing. It imposes blanket bans on some “unacceptable” uses of the technology while enacting stiff guardrails for other applications deemed “high-risk.”

For example, the EU AI Act outlaws social scoring systems powered by AI and any biometric-based tools used to guess a person’s race, political leanings or sexual orientation.

It bans the use of AI to interpret the emotions of people in schools and workplaces, as well as some types of automated profiling intended to predict a person’s likelihood of committing future crimes.

Meanwhile, the law outlines a separate category of “high-risk” uses of AI, particularly for education, hiring and access to government services, and imposes a separate set of transparency and other obligations on them.

Companies such as OpenAI that produce powerful, complex and widely used AI models will also be subject to new disclosure requirements under the law.

It also requires all AI-generated deepfakes to be clearly labeled, targeting concerns about manipulated media that could lead to disinformation and election meddling.

The sweeping legislation, which is set to take effect in roughly two years, highlights the speed with which EU policymakers have responded to the exploding popularity of tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The legislation approved by a plenary vote in the European Parliament this week is the result of a proposal that was first introduced in 2021, which gave lawmakers a head start when the release of ChatGPT spurred an investment boom and public frenzy.

The final product draws a sharp contrast to the United States, which has yet to make any meaningful progress on federal legislation for AI despite a rare and personal effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last year putting the issue at the top of the agenda.

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