The Act establishes the world’s first comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, and is expected to shape the future of AI regulation and governance both within and beyond the EU.

By Elisabetta Righini, Hanno F. Kaiser, Tim Wybitul, Fiona M. Maclean, and Michael H. Rubin

After three years of legislative debate, the Council of the European Union cast its final vote on the European Union (EU) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act on 21 May 2024. Once published in the EU Official Journal in June, the EU AI Act will become the first set of AI regulations that has undergone a full legislative approval process.

Originating from a European Commission proposal aimed at fostering the development and uptake of AI while ensuring fundamental rights across the EU and a human-centric approach to AI, the final text totals a remarkable 50,000 words, divided into 180 recitals, 113 Articles, and 13 annexes, and is a holistic set of risk-based rules applicable to all players in the AI ecosystem, from developers to exporters to deployers.

With its broad reach and extensive remit, and like other EU legislative efforts before it, such as the GDPR, the AI Act is expected to have an impact beyond the EU borders and to shape the future of how this fast-evolving technology will be regulated for years to come.

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