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Brussels, my love? The EU’s groundbreaking attempt to regulate AI clears its first hurdle

Host Méabh Mc Mahon in the European Parliament in Strasbourg with MEPs Patrick Breyer, Arba Kokalari and Barry Andrews
Host Méabh Mc Mahon in the European Parliament in Strasbourg with MEPs Patrick Breyer, Arba Kokalari and Barry Andrews Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Méabh Mc Mahon & Elly Laliberte
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In this edition of Brussels, my love?, we discuss the EU's recent decision to be the first to regulate artificial intelligence. Some parties, however, were not completely happy with the final compromise.

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This week we were joined by a panel of MEPs: Patrick Breyer, German MEP from the Pirate Party, Arba Kokalari, Swedish MEP from the Moderate Party, and Barry Andrews, Irish Fianna Fail MEP.

The European Parliament voted on the world’s first comprehensive set of rules for artificial intelligence this week. As the parliament headed for Strasbourg, all eyes were on MEPs for this groundbreaking vote which passed with 499 votes in favour, 28 against and 93 abstentions.

Arba Kokalari was one of the few who voted against the AI regulation, arguing that the regulation of facial recognition technology will hurt Europe.

“The vote today from the European Parliament [is] shutting the door on using this very important technique in very specific matters as terrorism, child kidnapping. I think for me that was a red line to vote against,” she said.

However, Patrick Breyer said the regulation is a positive feat. “I think it’s been quite a historic week,” said the German MEP. “The parliament backing a full ban on real-time biometric mass surveillance saves our society from a future of mass surveillance.”

Discussions over implementing this regulation have started in EU capitals and the hope is to have this over the line by the end of the year.

Panelists also discussed the Commission’s proposal for an inter-institutional ethics board. This comes after months of scandal (such as the so-called Qatargate) in an attempt to clean up their image.

However, Barry Andrews believes the ethics board won’t be able to tackle such a large issue. “It was very disappointing,” he said. “The budget is €600,000 with three staff [members]. It's really impossible to see how that would make an impact or that it's proportionate to the problem that is being identified.”

Watch ‘Brussels, my love?’ in the player above for more.

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