AI Act: the First Regulatory Framework for Artificial Intelligence in the European Union

On 13 March 2024, the AI ​​Act was approved by the European Parliament, the new regulation aimed at regulating artificial intelligence in Europe and the rights and duties of those who use it.

The growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) raises numerous concerns and issues, regarding its impact on fundamental rights and freedoms. For this reason, the European Union (EU) has taken a significant step to regulate its use.

What is the AI ​​Act?

The AI ​​Act, also known as the EU Artificial Intelligence Act, is a European Union regulation that aims to regulate the safe and responsible use of artificial intelligence while respecting fundamental rights and values. This law defines an artificial intelligence system as «a machine-based system designed to operate with various levels of autonomy and which can exhibit adaptive capabilities after implementation and which, for explicit or implicit objectives, infers, from the inputs it receives, how to generate outputs such as predictions, content, recommendations or decisions that can influence physical or virtual environments”.

Introduced by the European Commission as early as April 2021, it is part of the EU digital strategy and defines a regulatory framework based on a four-level risk approach:

  1. Unacceptable risk: AI systems that are considered to pose a clear threat to the security, fundamental rights or values ​​of the EU are prohibited. For example, mass surveillance systems and social scoring systems.
  2. High risk: AI systems that can have a significant impact on people’s lives must meet strict requirements before being brought to market. These requirements include transparency, data quality, human oversight and risk management. Examples of high-risk AI include healthcare, employment, and security applications.
  3. Limited risk: AI systems that only require specific transparency obligations, such as chatbots that must inform users that they are interacting with a machine.
  4. Minimal risk: AI systems that pose little or no risk, such as spam filters or AI-based games. These systems are not subject to specific regulations.

Why is the AI ​​Act important to the industry?

In the field of production and industry, the AI ​​Act can provide various advantages to Italian companies. In addition to the obligation to comply with European regulations, adhering to this regulation also means being able to seize significant opportunities to grow and compete on a global scale. As? First, it provides a clear regulatory framework that can help Italian companies innovate in a regulated and safe environment. Which can promote investor confidence and stimulate the growth of the AI ​​industry. And the same goes for consumers and end users, who will be more motivated to trust Italian AI solutions.

Furthermore, compliance with the rules of the AI ​​Act guarantees Italian companies access to the European single market. A fundamental aspect for SMEs aiming to expand and compete internationally. Finally, compliance with the AI ​​Act could facilitate obtaining public and private funding for research and development in the field of AI. In fact, the EU has already allocated significant funds to promote the ethical and responsible development of these technologies.