EU steps in to regulate high-risk AI

Washington D.C.- While countries around the world grapple with the challenges of ensuring safety, respecting fundamental rights, and fostering innovation through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the European Parliament, the EU’s law-making body, has taken a significant step forward. 

The European Parliament made history on March 13 by approving the groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence Act, the first comprehensive legislation anywhere in the world aimed at safeguarding fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental sustainability from high-risk AI.

The new law imposes fines for non-compliance, ranging from 35 million euros or 7% of global turnover to 7.5 million euros or 1.5% of turnover, based on the violation and company size.

The law protects against the misuse of general-purpose AI, restricts the use of biometric identification systems by law enforcement, prohibits social scoring, and bans AI designed to manipulate or exploit users. It also gives consumers the right to file complaints and receive clear explanations.

What is banned?

The new regulations ban certain AI applications that jeopardize citizens’ rights. This includes biometric categorization systems using sensitive characteristics and the uncontrolled collection of facial images from the internet or CCTV for facial recognition databases. Furthermore, the regulations prohibit the use of emotion recognition in workplaces and schools, social scoring, predictive policing based solely on profiling or assessing characteristics, and AI that manipulates human behavior or exploits vulnerabilities, according to a press release on the parliament’s website. 

“We finally have the world’s first binding law on artificial intelligence, to reduce risks, create opportunities, combat discrimination, and bring transparency. Thanks to Parliament, unacceptable AI practices will be banned in Europe and the rights of workers and citizens will be protected. The AI Office will now be set up to support companies to start complying with the rules before they enter into force. We ensured that human beings and European values are at the very center of AI’s development,” said Brando Benifei, an Italian lawmaker who had been instrumental in advancing the AI Act initiative along with other MEPs.


The Artificial Intelligence Act is a response to suggestions from citizens during the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE). These suggestions were aimed at enhancing the EU’s competitiveness in key sectors, creating a safe and trustworthy society by combating disinformation and ensuring human control, promoting digital innovation with human oversight, and ensuring responsible use of AI. 

It is worth mentioning here that in December last year the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) reached a political deal with the Council on the bill to “ensure AI in Europe is safe, respects fundamental rights and democracy, while businesses can thrive and expand”.

It was also agreed that non-compliance with the rules could lead to fines ranging from 35 million euro or 7% of global turnover to 7.5 million or 1.5 % of turnover, depending on the infringement and size of the company.

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