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How Will Europe’s New Artificial Intelligence Rules Affect the World?

A ChatGPT logo is seen on a monitor in West Chester, Pa., Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A ChatGPT logo is seen on a monitor in West Chester, Pa., Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
How Will Europe’s New Artificial Intelligence Rules Affect the World?
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European nations reached an agreement on rules for artificial intelligence (AI) last week. Some experts say the regulations will affect people around the world.

Here are some of the details of the agreement reported by the Associated Press:

The AI Act and how it works:

The AI Act aims to regulate or establish guidelines for AI technology that has the potential to cause problems if misused.

AI systems that recommend online material, or those that check email messages, would be less regulated. But technology that concerns healthcare or medical decisions would have higher requirements.

Some AI systems will be banned except in some cases. They include systems that scan people’s faces in public and systems that make predictions about future behavior such as whether a person will commit a crime.

The new AI Act will not take effect until two years after a vote from European lawmakers. The vote is planned for the first part of next year. The soonest it would be in place is sometime early in 2026.

How will the Act affect the world?

Some experts say the guidelines could become a global standard. That has happened before. One recent European decision caused U.S. company Apple to stop using its lightning data cable in favor of a more widely used cable.

Experts say Europe’s rules might be used as a blueprint in other parts of the world. Anu Bradford is a professor at Columbia University in New York City. She called Europe’s act “comprehensive” and “a game-changer.” Bradford noted the European rules will “show the world AI can be governed.”

Rights groups complained that Europe’s decision to not completely ban the use of facial recognition “is a missed opportunity.” Amnesty International noted that Europe did not ban exports of AI technology that covers social scoring. Social scoring systems permit governments to record how well citizens follow rules.

What are the U.S. and China doing?

In the United States, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in October on AI. Biden required AI technology companies to share test results and other information with the government. Government organizations will create requirements for AI tools that must be followed before systems are released for public use.

China released rules for AI tools that create material such as photos, text and videos. The rules are only short-term guidelines. President Xi Jinping also called for an open and fair environment for AI development around the world.

Will Europe’s rules change ChatGPT?

The rise of ChatGPT, an AI tool based in the U.S., is one of the reasons for Europe’s new set of rules. Europe’s rules include guidelines for chatbots and other AI systems that can do jobs such as writing, creating video and writing computer code.

Systems must clearly show where the material that went into training the bots came from. They also must show how much energy was used to train the systems, or models. They should be open about how they control the data that comes from their tool’s users. And they need to observe the EU’s copyright property protection laws.

High technology systems or risky uses of AI are required to follow stricter rules. Those include systems that create basic pieces of information, such as computer code, that others will then use to create other AI systems.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.


Words in This Story

regulations –n. (pl.) rules and laws that govern a field or industry

potential –n. the possibility that something might happen

scan –v. to record the image of something and to use it digitally

global standard –n. a level of quality for a field or industry that is observed or require around the world

blueprint –n. the plans for a building; a set of plans for how something should be done

comprehensive –adj. involving all parts of something

game-changer –n. (idiom) something that is important or causes change

social scoring –n. a way of rating people on social issues

chatbot –n. an artificial intelligence tool that produces writing or other material on request by taking existing things from the internet