Date announced for publication of draft EU legislation on AI.

The Commission has announced it will publish its proposal for regulating AI on 21 April 2021. The proposal has been pitched as a follow-up to its White Paper on artificial intelligence ("AI"), which was released in February 2020 (see our blog).

Product manufacturers will be particularly interested to hear that, according to Euractiv, Roberto Viola, Director-General at DG Connect, stated that the proposal would introduce horizontal regulation with a definition of AI that would cover "machines which have algorithms". Mr Viola also revealed that the high-risk / low-risk dichotomy, which was discussed in the White Paper and picked up by the European Parliament (see our blog), appears to have traction with the Commission and that the EU would specify certain uses of AI that fall within these categories.

These developments reinforces the fact that legislating AI remains a major priority for the European Commission and they are determined to move forward at a fast pace. In particular, Mr Viola's suggestion that a horizontal regulation (i.e. it applies across all sectors) will be introduced has significant implications. It appears that the Commission is putting AI in the same category as technologies such as nuclear and airlines that are deemed so unique they merit their own regulatory regime. Regardless of whether AI poses comparable risks (on which the jury is out),  this "one size fits all" approach risks creating rules that do not fully reflect the specific benefits and risks of how AI is used in different sectors. This could have significant impact on decisions product manufacturers make around whether or how they use AI in their products.

Keep an eye on Productwise for more news on these important developments.

The latest agenda for upcoming Commission meeting can be found here.

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