EU agrees Artificial Intelligence Act

EU flag for story about EU Artificial Intelligence Act
Image: Birgit Korber |

Construction business operating, developing and deploying AI in Europe will soon need to comply with the Artificial Intelligence Act, agreed by the European Parliament last week.

  • sets safeguards on general-purpose AI;
  • bans social scoring and AI used to manipulate or exploit user vulnerabilities;
  • gives consumers the right to launch complaints and receive meaningful explanations; and
  • sets fines for abuse of the Act, ranging from €35m or 7% of global turnover, to €7.5m or 1.5% of turnover, depending on the infringement and size of the company; and
  • limits the use of biometric identification systems by law enforcement.

MEPs reached a provisional agreement with the European Council on Friday. The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by both the Parliament and the Council to become EU law. Parliament’s internal market and civil liberties committees will vote on the agreement in a forthcoming meeting.

As agreed, the Act states that general-purpose AI (GPAI) systems, and the GPAI models they are based on, will have to adhere to transparency requirements as initially proposed by the Parliament. These include drawing up technical documentation, complying with EU copyright law, and disseminating detailed summaries about the content used for training.

More stringent obligations fall on high-impact GPAI models with systemic risk. If these models meet certain criteria, they will have to conduct model evaluations, assess and mitigate systemic risks, conduct adversarial testing, report to the Commission on serious incidents, ensure cyber security, and report on their energy efficiency.

MEPs also insisted that, until harmonised EU standards are published, GPAIs with systemic risk may rely on codes of practice to comply with the regulation.

AI prohibitions

The Act prohibits:

  • biometric categorisation systems that use sensitive characteristics (e.g. political, religious, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation, race);
  • untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases;
  • emotion recognition in the workplace and educational institutions;
  • social scoring based on social behaviour or personal characteristics;
  • AI systems that manipulate human behaviour to circumvent their free will; and
  • AI used to exploit the vulnerabilities of people (due to their age, disability, social or economic situation).

Co-rapporteur and Italian MEP Brando Benifei said: “The world’s first horizontal legislation on artificial intelligence will keep the European promise – ensuring that rights and freedoms are at the centre of the development of this groundbreaking technology. Correct implementation will be key – the Parliament will continue to keep a close eye, to ensure support for new business ideas with sandboxes, and effective rules for the most powerful models.”

Don’t miss out on BIM and digital construction news: sign up to receive the BIMplus newsletter.

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News