Regulating AI

AI Act is poised to set global benchmark for regulation of technology that is rapidly becoming integral daily life

Editorial May 26, 2024


Next month, the European Union’s landmark rules on artificial intelligence (AI) will come into force, following the endorsement by EU countries of a political deal reached in December. This AI Act is poised to set a global benchmark for the regulation of a technology that is rapidly becoming integral to business and daily life. Unlike the United States’ light-touch voluntary compliance approach or China’s state-controlled framework aimed at maintaining social stability, the EU’s comprehensive legislation hopes to ensure not just accountability but also ethical use of AI.

The AI Act, first drafted by the European Commission in 2021 and refined by EU lawmakers over the past two years, introduces stringent transparency obligations for high-risk AI systems. This encompasses AI applications in critical sectors such as healthcare, transportation and law enforcement, where the potential for harm is significant if these systems malfunction or are misused. The implications of this legislation extend far beyond the 27-member European bloc. As the EU positions itself as a leader in AI regulation, other countries and regions may look to its framework as a model. For Pakistan, the AI Act’s balanced approach to regulation could serve as a sustainable model. Implementing a tiered regulatory framework that imposes stricter oversight on AI applications while encouraging innovation in less sensitive areas can help Pakistan achieve a balance between safeguarding public interests and promoting technological advancement.

The global tech industry, often criticised for its lack of regulation and ethical oversight, might find itself influenced by the EU’s pioneering stance, prompting a shift towards more responsible and transparent AI development and deployment. However, while the new rules represent a leap forward, the true test will lie in their implementation. Effective enforcement will be crucial to ensuring that AI developers and users comply with the standards set out.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2024.

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