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The European Commission’s proposed AI Act: a global regulatory paradigm?

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business is increasingly prevalent and disruptive. According to a recent study, up to 7% of all SMEs and 24% of all large companies in the EU were using some form of AI in 2020. This is a vast number of businesses and will only increase as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable. Similar trends should be also expected in developing countries.

However, with great power comes great responsibility: AI’s power also carries with it a large propensity for doing harm. In light of this, the world’s first AI Act, although still a Commission proposal, has sufficient momentum to be adopted in the near future – perhaps by the end of 2022. With the US still scrambling, and so far failing, to adopt federal data protection legislation, the EU will likely benefit from an opportunity to set the legislative agenda in the AI field too.

In this article, we provide an overview of the AI Act’s provisions and the reasons why its implications will not be limited to the EU territory, but must be considered seriously by AI stakeholders, policy makers and regulators across the globe.