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The EU says incoming rules for general-purpose AI can evolve over time

The political agreement reached by European Union lawmakers late Friday on what the bloc bills as the world's first comprehensive law on includes powers for the Commission to adapt the EU-wide AI rulebook to keep up with developments in the cutting edge field. has confirmed.

Η επιλογή του όρου από τους νομοθέτες για τη ρύθση των πιο ισχυρών μοντέλων πίσω από την τρέχουσα άνθηση των εργαλείων παραγωγής τεχνητής νοημοσύνης — τα οποία ο νόμος της ΕΕ αναφέρει ως μοντέλα και συστήα τεχνητής νοημοσύνης «γενικού σκοπού», αντί να χρησιμοποιεί όρους επιλογής του κλάδου, όπως «θεμελιώδη» ή « μοντέλα συνόρων — επιλέχθηκε επίσης με γνώμονα τη μελλοντική προστασία του εισερχόμενου νόμου, σύμφωνα με την Επιτροπή, με τους συννομοθέτες να προτιμούν έναν γενικό όρο για να αποφευχθεί μια ταξινόμηση που θα μπορούσε να συνδεθεί με τη χρήση μιας συγκεκριμένης τεχνολογίας (π.χ. μηχανική μάθηση με βάση μετασχηματιστές).

"In the future, we may have different technical approaches. And so we were looking for a more general term," a Commission official suggested today. “Foundation models, of course, are part of general purpose AI models. These are models that can be used for a very wide variety of tasks, they can also be integrated into systems. To give you a concrete example, the general-purpose AI model will be GPT-4, and the general-purpose AI system will be ChatGPT — where GPT-4 is embedded in ChatGPT.”

As we reported earlier, the deal agreed by the bloc's co-legislators includes a low-risk tier and a high-risk tier for regulating so-called general-purpose AI (GPAI) — such as models behind the virus outbreak in AI production tools such as ChatGPT by OpenAI. The trigger for the application of high-risk rules to artificial intelligence production technologies is determined by an initial threshold set in legislation.

Also, as we reported on Thursday, the agreed draft of the EU AI law refers to the amount of computation used to train the models, also known as floating point operations (or FLOPs) — setting the bar for a GPAI to be considered has "high impact capabilities". at 10^25 FLOPs.

However, during a technical briefing with reporters today to review the political agreement, the Commission confirmed that this is only an "initial cap", confirming that it will have powers to update the cap over time through implementing/delegating acts (eg secondary law). He also said the idea is for the FLOPs limit to be combined, over time, with "other benchmarks" to be developed by a new expert oversight body set up within the Commission, called the AI ​​Office.

Why was 25 FLOPs chosen as the high-risk threshold for GPAIs? The Commission suggests that the number was chosen with the intention of capturing current generational frontier models. But he claimed lawmakers did not discuss or even consider whether it would apply to any models currently in play, such as OpenAI's GPT-4 or Google's Gemini, during marathon tripartite talks to agree its final shape rulebook.

A Commission official added that, in any case, it will be up to GPAI manufacturers to assess for themselves whether their models meet the FLOP threshold and thus whether they fall under the rules for GPAIs "with systemic risk" or not.

"There are no official sources that say ChatGPT or Gemini or Chinese models are at this FLOP level," the official said during the press briefing. “Based on the information we have, and with that 10^25 we chose, we chose a number that could really capture, a little bit, the boundary models that we have. Whether it's a record of GPT-4 or Gemini or others, we're not here now to claim – because also, in our context, it's the companies that should come and evaluate the amount of FLOPs or computing power themselves that they have used. But, of course, if you read the scientific literature, many will indicate that these numbers are the most advanced models at the moment. We'll see what the companies evaluate because they're the best to do that evaluation."

"The rules have not been written with some companies in mind," they added. “They're really written with the idea of ​​setting the limit — which, by the way, can change because we have the ability to authorize ourselves to change that limit based on technological development. It could go up, it could go down, and we could also develop other benchmarks that in the future will be the most appropriate for benchmarking the different moments."

GPAIs that fall into the AI ​​Act's high-risk tier will face upfront regulatory requirements to assess and mitigate systemic risks — meaning they must proactively test model outputs to shrink real-world (or “ reasonably foreseeable”) adverse effects on public health. security, public safety, fundamental rights or for society as a whole.

While "low-level" GPAIs will face only lighter transparency requirements, including obligations to apply watermarking to AI output.

The watermarking requirement for GPAIs falls under an article in the Commission's initial version of the risk-based framework presented in April 2021, which focused on transparency requirements for technologies such as τεχνητής νοημοσύνης και τα — but now also generally applies to general-purpose AI systems.

"There is an obligation to try to watermark [generative AI-produced] text based on the latest state-of-the-art technology available," the Commission official said, detailing the agreed watermarking obligations. “Currently, technologies are much better at watermarking video and audio than text. But what we're asking for is the fact that this watermarking is done based on state-of-the-art technology — and then we expect, of course, that over time the technology will mature and be as [good] as possible.”

GPAI model makers must also commit to respecting EU copyright rules, including compliance with an existing machine-readable text and data mining exemption contained in the EU Copyright Directive — and a mapping of transparency requirements of the Open Source GPAI Act not to extend the exemption from copyright obligations, with the Commission confirming that the Copyright Directive will continue to apply to open source GPAI.

Regarding the Office of Artificial Intelligence, which will play a key role in setting risk classification thresholds for GPAIs, the Commission confirmed that no budget or staffing numbers for the expert body have yet been set. (Though, in the wee hours of Saturday, the bloc's Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, suggested the EU was ready to welcome "many" new colleagues as it tooled up this general-purpose AI watchdog.)

Asked about resources for the AI ​​Office, a Commission official said it would be decided in the future by the EU executive taking "an appropriate and formal decision". "The idea is that we can create a dedicated budget line for the Office and that we will also be able to recruit national experts from Member States if we wish, on top of contract staff and on top of permanent staff. And some of these staff will also be deployed to the European Commission," they added.

The Office of AI will work with a new scientific advisory group that the law also creates to help the agency better understand the potential of advanced artificial intelligence models to regulate systemic risk. "We have identified an important role for the establishment of a scientific team where the scientific team can effectively help the Office of Artificial Intelligence understand if there are new risks that have not yet been identified," the official noted. And, for example, you also point out some notices about models not covered by the FLOP limit that for some reasons could actually create significant risks that governments should look at."

While the EU executive appears keen to ensure the key details of the incoming law are published, despite the fact that there is no final text yet — because work to consolidate what was agreed by co-legislators during the marathon 38-hour talks completed on Friday night is the next task facing the block in the coming weeks — there could still be some devils lurking in that detail. Therefore, it is worth considering the text that will appear, probably in January or February.

Furthermore, while the full regulation won't be in place for a few years, the EU will push for GPAIs to comply with codes of practice in the meantime — so AI giants will be under pressure to stay as close to tough regulations as possible which come as far down as possible, through the block's Covenant AI.

The EU AI law itself likely won't be in full force until sometime in 2026 — given that the final text, once drafted (and translated into member state languages), must be ratified by final votes in parliament and the Council, after which there is a short period before the text of the law is published in the Official Journal of the EU and another before it enters into force.

EU lawmakers also agreed a phased approach to the law's compliance requirements, with 24 months to be allowed until the high-risk rules for GPAIs are implemented.

The list of strictly prohibited uses of AI will be implemented earlier, just six months after the law goes into effect — which could potentially mean banning some "unacceptable risk" uses of AI, such as social scoring or style Clearview AI Selfie scraping for facial recognition databases, will go live in the second half of 2024, provided no last-minute opposition to the regulation emerges within the Council or Parliament. (For the full list of prohibited AI uses, read our previous post.)


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