European Parliament adopts draft law to regulate artificial intelligence

MEPs have adopted the European Commission's draft regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) to a very large extent. This is the kick-off of negotiations with member states and the executive to finalise the law that should limit the risks of ChatGPT-type systems. This negotiation work begins this Wednesday evening, June 14.

The seat of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg (Illustration image). © Vincent Kessler / REUTERS

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The European Parliament adopted its position on artificial intelligence on Wednesday 14 June during a plenary vote in Strasbourg. At the end of the day, negotiations must begin with the Member States to finalise the legislation as soon as possible. At the end of this vote, the president of the assembly, Roberta Metsola, welcomed what will be the first major law in the world to limit the risks of artificial intelligence but also to allow innovation. "I think we can all be proud of ourselves. Europe is and will continue to be at the forefront of AI legislation," she said.

The European Parliament has called for new bans, such as automatic facial recognition systems in public places. The Commission would like to authorise its use by law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime and terrorism. The subject should feed into debates with member states that refuse to ban this controversial technology. The European Union hopes to conclude before the end of the year the first regulation in the world aimed at regulating and protecting innovation in artificial intelligence, a strategic sector in economic competition.

► Read also: International report - China: artificial intelligence at the service of mass surveillance


Technology is evolving. Innovation moves us forward and opens up new possibilities. As legislators, we must seize this opportunity. It's about understanding that we can't afford to stand still and we shouldn't be afraid of the future," Metsola said. Second, there will have to be firm and clear boundaries and limits for artificial intelligence. We will not compromise. Whenever technology advances, it must go hand in hand with our fundamental rights and democratic values.


« A new era has arrived »

Two years ago, the EU proposed an ambitious project, which has dragged on and has been further delayed in recent months by controversies over the dangers of generative AIs capable of creating text or images. Commissioner Thierry Breton, who carried the text with his colleague Margrethe Vestager, called for the process to be concluded in "the coming months". "AI raises many questions – socially, ethically and economically [...]. It's about acting quickly and taking responsibility," he said on Wednesday. But the regulation won't come into force until 2026, at best. Considering that there was urgency, Thierry Breton and Margrethe Vestager announced their intention to obtain voluntary commitments from companies as soon as possible.


We need to reconsider how we legislate and how we think about artificial intelligence because a new era of control has arrived," said Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. There are many things that cannot be digitized. Emotions, willpower and judgment... All this belongs to us, belongs to this House, which has the capacity to decide. And to set the tone around the world. It is a question of Europe taking the lead, and we are doing it in our own way, that is to say responsibly.


Of great technical complexity, artificial intelligence systems fascinate as much as they worry. While they can save lives by enabling a leap forward in medical diagnoses, they are also exploited by authoritarian regimes to carry out mass surveillance of citizens. The general public discovered their immense potential late last year with the release of California-based OpenAI's ChatGPT editorial content generator, which can write original essays, poems or translations in seconds.

► Read also: Artificial intelligence: what are we really talking about?

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