Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development , Standards, Regulations & Compliance

EU AI Act Talks Drag on Past Expected End Date

Trilogue Talks to Resume on Friday
EU AI Act Talks Drag on Past Expected End Date
EU AI Act co-rapporteur Brando Benifei, center, and European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, center right, during Dec. 7 negotiations on the AI Act (Image: Thierry Breton)

European lawmakers and officials failed to hammer out a compromise regulation on artificial intelligence after two days of talks that stretched over 22 hours and were intended to culminate in a Thursday settlement.

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The European Union has been at work on the Artificial Intelligence Act since April 2021 in a bid to mitigate societal risks posed by AI and ban a slew of applications, such as societal credit scoring, which are deemed harmful to society.

The regulation entered what were intended to be final talks between the European Parliament, Council and Commission on Wednesday. But when the overnight talks ended on Thursday, lawmakers had failed to reach a consensus on key aspects.

Describing the two-day talks as an "ultra-marathon," European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, said "lots of progress" has been made during the negotiation talks.

Breton did not disclose the details of the negotiations but said the final talks between the European Parliament and Council on the draft law will resume Friday.

On Thursday, lawmakers postponed a scheduled press briefing by the AI Act rapporteurs Brando Benifei and Dragoş Tudorache.

Although the EU was among the first to announce a regulation on AI, its efforts to finalize draft regulation were set back after member states Germany, Italy and France made last-minute objections to regulate foundational AI systems in a bid to promote the growth of local AI startups.

Two factions within the trading bloc emerged during negotiations: member nations in favor of more stringent regulation of foundational AI, such as Spain, and those opposing it, including France.

France, which is believed to have been illegally using biometric behavioral monitoring for law and order purposes at least since 2015, has also objected to the Parliament's proposed blanket ban on the use of real-time biometric surveillance systems, as well as calling for less stringent copyright rules affecting AI.

"If we have a further trilogue, it is fine. And from where I am looking, it seems to me that there are too many significant points to cover in one night for tomorrow to be the last trilogue," French Digital Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told reporters on Tuesday.

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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