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EU Policy. AI Office set-up announced, Lucilla Sioli to be in charge

Lucila Sioli, a EU Commission official who will lead the AI Office.
Lucila Sioli, a EU Commission official who will lead the AI Office. Copyright Flickr/Lisbon Council/Creative Commons.
Copyright Flickr/Lisbon Council/Creative Commons.
By Cynthia Kroet
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Commission announces set-up of unit tasked with overseeing the AI Act.

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Lucilla Sioli, currently Director for AI and Digital Industry within the European Commission and an EU official since 1997, will formally lead the AI Office, the EU executive announced today (29 May). 

The AI Office, a restructuring of an existing unit dealing with AI within the Commission, will consist of five main departments, each led by a director tasked with overseeing the implementation of the AI Act. It will employ 140 people in total including technological experts, lawyers and policy specialists, some 80 of whom will still need to be recruited.

The departments will focus on regulation and compliance, safety, excellence and robotics, AI for societal good, as well as innovation. In addition, there will be two advisors on the scientific approach and international affairs.

Contrary to previous claims, including from Sioli herself, that the formal approval of the internal restructuring would take more time, the EU executive went ahead to greenlight the appointments and units which will take effect on 16 June.

Supervision

The AI office, an internal department within the Commission, will supervise the rules for general-purpose AI systems and function as a central coordination body for AI policy at EU level, coordinating with other departments within the EU executive, its agencies, companies and the 27 Member States.

The AI Act – Europe’s ground-breaking law to regulate machine learning technology – is set to officially enter into force in June. This means that compliance deadlines for companies are also approaching. In November, bans on prohibited practices specified in the AI Act will start to apply. The general-purpose AI rules will apply one year after entry into force, in May 2025, and the obligations for high-risk systems will kick in in three years.

The AI Board, which will consist of the 27 national regulators and will assist the AI Office to harmonise the rules, will have its first meeting in June. Those first meetings will be attended by representatives from the member states, as the countries have another twelve months to appoint a formal regulatory authority.

Earlier this month, the Commission began further recruitment for the Office with a call for applications for experts from national administrations, as well as legal, policy and technology experts.

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