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EU's Landmark AI Legislation

  • 11 Dec 2023
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: European Union, Artificial intelligence, Facial recognition technology, Generative AI, General Data Protection Regulation, Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.

For Mains: Different Global Approaches to AI Regulation, Key Components of the EU Framework for AI Regulation, India's Strategy Regarding AI Regulation.

Source: IE

Why in News?

Recently, the European Union (EU) has set the stage for the world's first comprehensive legislation aimed at regulating the use of Artificial intelligence (AI).

  • The EU's proposed framework will undergo a parliamentary vote in early 2024, potentially becoming enforceable by 2025.

What are the Key Components of the EU Framework for AI Regulation?

  • Safeguards in Legislation:
    • Empowerment of Consumers: Ability for individuals to launch complaints against perceived AI violations.
    • Restrictions on Law Enforcement Adoption: Clear boundaries on AI usage by law enforcement agencies.
    • Strict Limitations on AI: Strong restrictions on facial recognition technology and AI manipulation of human behaviour.
    • Penalties for Violations: Provision for tough penalties for companies found breaking the rules.
    • Limited Biometric Surveillance: Governments permitted to use real-time biometric surveillance in public areas only in cases of serious threats like terrorist attacks.
  • Categorization of AI Applications:
    • Four Risk Classes: AI applications classified into four risk categories based on their level of risk and invasiveness.
    • Banned Applications: Mass-scale facial recognition and behavioral control AI applications are largely banned, with exemptions for law enforcement.
    • High-Risk Applications: Allowed with certification and provision for backend technique transparency, such as AI tools for self-driving cars.
    • Medium-Risk Applications: Deployable without restrictions, like generative AI chatbots, with explicit disclosure to users about AI interaction, transparency obligations, and detailed tech documentation.
  • Other EU's Regulatory Achievements:
    • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Implementation: Enforced since May 2018, focusing on privacy and explicit consent for data processing.
      • Sub-Legislations: DSA and DMA:
        • Digital Services Act (DSA): Focus on regulating hate speech, counterfeit goods, etc.
        • Digital Markets Act (DMA): Identifying "dominant gatekeeper" platforms and addressing non-competitive practices and dominance abuse.

What are Different Global Approaches to AI Regulation?

  • EU: Tough stance, categorising AI based on invasiveness and risk.
  • United Kingdom: 'Light-touch' approach fostering innovation in AI.
  • United States: Positioned between strict regulation and innovation support.
  • China: Introduced its own measures for AI regulation, aligning with its policies and priorities.

What is India's Strategy Regarding AI Regulation?

  • Stance:
    • India is yet to have a comprehensive framework for regulating AI. However, India has shifted from a stance of not considering AI regulation to actively formulating regulations based on a risk-based, user-harm approach.
  • Advocacy for Inclusive and Responsible AI:
    • India's initial national AI strategy, #AIFORALL, aimed at inclusivity, debuted in 2018.
    • NITI Aayog's National Strategy for AI (2018) included a chapter on responsible AI.
      • In 2021, NITI Aayog issued a paper, ‘Principle of Responsible AI’. Seven broad principles were enumerated in the paper: equality, safety and reliability, inclusivity and non-discrimination, transparency, accountability, privacy and reinforcement of positive human value.
    • In March 2023, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced IndiaAI, the national program on AI, aimed at serving as a comprehensive initiative to cover all AI-related research and innovations.
    • In July, 2023 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued a paper, that recommended setting up a domestic statutory authority to regulate AI through the lens of a “risk-based framework” and constitution of an advisory body with members from multiple government departments, academia and experts.
  • Major Sector-specific AI Frameworks in India:
    • Healthcare Sector:
    • Capital Market:
      • SEBI issued a circular in January 2019 to guide policies and create an inventory for AI systems in the capital market.
    • Education Sector:

Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)

  • GPAI is a forum of 28 nations and the European Union that is working together to understand the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence, or AI, and to promote its responsible evolution.
    • India joined the GPAI as a founding member in 2020 and became the Chair of the GPAI in November 2022 after France.
    • Notably, China is not a member of the GPAI.
  • India is set to host the Annual GPAI Summit from 12th December to 14th December 2023.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q1. With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020)

  1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units
  2. Create meaningful short stories and songs
  3. Disease diagnosis
  4. Text-to-Speech Conversion
  5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only 
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (b)

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