The European Union Artificial Intelligence Act

Implications for the technology sector

While there’s plenty of 2023 left to go, it is already highly likely that ‘artificial intelligence’ will be the single most talked about technology topic of the year. The launch of ChatGPT has sent shockwaves throughout the world, leading big tech firms to realise that they need to sit up and pay attention to the tangible impact that AI is likely to have on all of our lives over the next decade. 

However, while AI has enormous potential for good, fears have been raised that it could present significant risks to people’s rights and well-being. This year, the EU is set to create the world’s first broad standards for regulating or banning certain uses of AI. The AI Act will establish a framework for assessing the relative risk of different kinds of AI systems. At the time of writing, the European Parliament is in the thick of the legislative process, with a view to adopting the Act by the end of the year. The Act will extend to providers and users outside of the EU, where the output is used in the region. 

To discuss the potential impact of the Act on consumers, businesses and technology vendors, we gathered an expert panel together in a virtual event. This report summarises the discussion, supporting sources and key takeaways. From a PR perspective, it is vital that comms professionals keep abreast of an Act set to significantly impact tech companies in the coming years. The regulation will lead to an increased focus on the way in which firms adopt and benefit from AI – it is our role to consider the most suitable messages, channels and tactics to employ to manage the subsequent potential reputational risks.

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