Europe: The European Union unveils its Artificial Intelligence Office

By neub9
3 Min Read

What you need to know

In brief

As part of our commitment to keep you updated on the emerging field of AI regulation, we want to bring your attention to a new development. On January 24, 2024, the EU Commission released its Decision establishing the European Artificial Intelligence Office (AI Office). This client alert focuses on the timeline for integration, jurisdiction, and scope of the AI Office, as well as lingering questions yet to be addressed.

Integration and timeline

The AI Office, essential for enforcing the AI Act, will be integrated into the Commission and will have a separate budget line. The Decision establishing the AI Office will come into force on February 21, 2024, preceding the formal adoption of the EU AI Act. This reflects a swift and committed approach to effective AI regulation.

The primary focus of the AI Office will be monitoring and overseeing General Purpose AI (GPAI) models and systems, which are currently the most powerful types of AI.

The AI Office will develop methodologies and benchmarks for evaluating GPAI models, particularly very large GPAI models with systemic risks.

The AI Office will have investigative authority, allowing it to address potential infringements of regulations related to GPAI systems. This includes collecting complaints, issuing document requests, conducting evaluations, and requesting enforcement measures to address violations.

The AI Office will facilitate information exchange and collaboration between national authorities, collecting notifications, and establishing information platforms and databases. It will also assist the Commission in issuing further Decisions, as well as guidance and guideline documents.

Questions remain about the autonomy of the AI Office. It is unclear whether it will have independent political objectives or function as an extension of the unit responsible for the AI Act.

While the AI Office will have a separate budget line, it is not yet clear how large its allocated budget will be. The impact of the Digital Europe Programme on the AI Office’s financing remains to be seen.

Despite some remaining uncertainty, the EU is taking significant steps not only with oversight and enforcement support for national authorities, but also to facilitate information exchange and collaboration.

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Your dedicated team at Baker McKenzie is here to help you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of AI regulation.

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