Experts: Europe’s AI Act to push companies to confront technology’s use

EU Artificial Intelligence

For more than a decade, the European Union has put regulating artificial intelligence (AI) at the heart of its digital agenda. Beginning next year, a raft of legislation is set to take effect.

Aimed at protecting consumers from any unintended consequences AI technologies and machine learning (ML) might create, the AI Act primarily targets the largest tech platforms capable of the greatest harms while also seeking to level the playing field so new companies can enter the market without being swallowed up. The rules will allow businesses generally to flag unfair practices, such as Big Tech firms’ use (and abuse) of targeted advertising to drive sales from customer data without users’ consent.

The European Commission—the bloc’s executive body—published its draft proposal for the AI Act in April 2021. The legislation, which is industry neutral and has extraterritorial application, seeks to remedy existing fragmentation in the regulation of AI across the European Union, as well as address concerns around potential risks posed by unregulated uses of AI-based technologies.

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