This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Our Take on AI

| less than a minute read

EU AI Act Debate--What is the Definition of AI?

The proposed language for the European Union AI Act is undergoing revisions in an effort to create policy that is both immediately effective and future-proof. At the center of those revisions are foundational questions of regulatory scope, such as the definition of AI. 

The current draft of the proposed Act defines an "artificial intelligence system" in Article 3 as:

a machine-based system that is designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy and that can, for explicit or implicit objectives, generate outputs such as predictions, recommendations, or decisions, that influence physical or virtual environments

On its face, this definition appears to capture many technologies. This definition is just one example of the drafting decisions that will have far-reaching implications for the future of AI regulation. Indeed, the EU is poised to be the first governing body to enact AI-specific laws on such a large scale. The Act will likely set a precedent for future regulations from other nations. 

As it looks now, it appears the final language of the AI Act will be adopted in early 2024 and will go into effect in 2025 or 2026.  

The center of the lexical contention within the AI Act lies between two poles: On the one hand, there is a concern the definition of AI may "cast the net too widely" and include things as simple as calculations in a spreadsheet. On the other hand, overly precise definitions can hamper the law's efficacy and hinder the positive development of AI. Indeed, being "future-proof" is especially critical for legislation in a field defined by rapid technological change.