The agreement reached this Saturday on the so-called law on artificial intelligence represents a historic step forward in technological regulation. It speaks to who we are and what we want to be as a continent. Europe is aware of its role in the world and has decided to take the reins of regulating a phenomenon as powerful as artificial intelligence. This success achieved under the current Spanish presidency is also a source of pride. This is a crucial step forward in our consolidation as a leader in human-centered technological development, guaranteeing rights and betting on the values that unite us. Now, with fewer photos, the technical work begins, where every word of the new regulations will be revised. The formal approval of the two legislators (Council and Parliament) will arrive in the first quarter of 2024 and will leave room for a period of two years for its effective implementation. That’s to say, It’s only just begun.
Two years seems a long time. There are big economic interests in this sector and they won’t wait for anyone. It’s worth remembering that just a year ago, ChatGPT appeared – used by over 100 million people every week – and forced an entire industry to change pace. Overnight, all the plans, analyzes and predictions that had been made until then were rendered obsolete. Until the last moment there was a debate on how to include these models in this legislative text because no one was clear about it. The end result, even without knowing it, will surely be disappointing, but you can’t ask for better. Debating very disparate technical and ideological issues against the clock, with a pressure more reminiscent of television than that of a legislative process, makes obtaining an optimal result extremely complex. The important thing is the agreement. There is therefore a real risk that by the time it is implemented, the landscape will have changed again.
The implementation of the law will not be a bed of roses. A major challenge lies ahead: moving this regulation from paper to reality, making it not only a well-intentioned text but an effective instrument that meets the real needs of citizens. This requires coordinated and determined action from all member countries, an effort by the public sector to adapt, attract talent and act with agility. The role of civil society in this process is crucial. We cannot forget that artificial intelligence, in essence, concerns us all. It is therefore essential that the voice of citizens is heard and that their concerns and aspirations are taken into account.
This will not only require designing and deploying the entire institutional architecture in Brussels and in each country, which ensures that the standard is respected. Avoiding bureaucratic procedures and offering competitive salaries in the public sector is the key to success. And this will have to happen so that those who govern this technology are not light years away from it or susceptible to being signed by those who are regulated. It will also be important that there is homogeneous development in the different European countries. This will be of no use if, as with data protection or taxes, there is dumping artificial, giving looser interpretations in some jurisdictions than others or there is not enough capacity for trials to thrive.
If there is anything to be seen in this process, in which experts have signed more letters than ever to express their opinion, it is that the established public consultation mechanisms must be revisited to integrate a population that feels challenged the challenge of participating in legislative development. In short, the agreement on this law is news that pleases all of us who believe that democratic values must govern the technological future; The rule of law has won against self-interested pressures. Now the complicated part begins at the national level. Brussels lawmakers should start working on the next update now, because in the age of artificial intelligence, legislation will undoubtedly need to evolve.
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