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What Europe’s AI Act could mean for eventprofs

The European Union is on the brink of introducing a world-first legal framework for AI, with potential consequences for event organizers.

New legislation – the Artificial Intelligence Act – has been endorsed by MEPs with 523 votes in favour, 46 against and 49 abstentions.

It is aimed at mitigating risks associated with AI while fostering innovation, but could carry significant implications for event organizers worldwide.

Dragos Tudorache MEP, co-leader of the draft negotiations, said: “The AI Act has nudged the future of AI in a human-centric direction, in a direction where humans are in control of the technology and where it — the technology — helps us leverage new discoveries, economic growth, societal progress and unlock human potential.

“The AI act is not the end of the journey but the starting point for new governance built around technology.”

What’s behind the Act?

This Act aims to safeguard fundamental rights and democratic principles.

Creators of the law emphasized the importance of prioritizing ethical AI development and usage, aiming to create a governance model that serves the best interests of humanity.

Nations such as China and the United States have already introduced their own AI regulations, but the EU’s Act stands out as a trailblazer.

Its comprehensive scope and binding requirements make it a world-first of its kind, setting a new standard for governance on a global scale.

How could the AI Act impact eventprofs?

Central to the AI Act is one concept – the higher the risk, the stricter the rules.

Applications that involve a clear risk to fundamental rights will be completely shut down – including  biometric categorisation systems based on sensitive characteristics.

Generative AI tools – such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT – will also face provisions to tackle risks posed by the systems underpinning them. Here’s a closer look at what the rules might mean for eventprofs:

Privacy Protection

  • AI applications like emotion recognition in workplaces and social scoring will be banned. This could impact efforts to categorise the seniority of attendees or gain insights into engagement at your events.
  • Facial recognition systems must be targeted and consent-based, banning untargeted scraping from the internet or CCTV footage to create databases.

Transparency Mandate

  • General-purpose AI systems are required to comply with EU copyright law and provide detailed summaries of training data.
  • Transparency ensures accountability and builds trust with attendees.

Deepfake Labelling

  • Artificial or manipulated content must be clearly labelled – preventing deceptive use of audio, video or images.

Regulatory Support for Start-ups

  • Regulatory sandboxes and real-world testing environments will facilitate the development of innovative AI by SMEs and start-ups.
  • This support should encourage creativity and fosters growth in the event tech industry.

Balancing Innovation with Ethics

  • The Act aims to strike a balance between innovation and fundamental rights, boosting innovation while safeguarding privacy and democratic principles.
  • It means event organizers can embrace cutting-edge AI technology with confidence, knowing that ethical standards are upheld.

What’s next for the AI Act?

The AI Act is expected to become law by May or June, pending final formalities and approval from EU member countries.

Provisions will be implemented gradually, with countries required to ban prohibited systems six months after the law’s enactment.

By mid-2026, the full set of regulations – including those for high-risk AI systems – are set to be in effect.

Each EU country will establish its own watchdog to handle complaints regarding potential violations.

Brussels will also create an AI Office tasked with enforcing and supervising the law for general-purpose AI systems.

Any violations of the Act could lead to significant fines, with penalties reaching up to €35 million or 7% of a company’s global revenue.

Event organizers are advised to stay informed about the regulations outlined in the AI Act to ensure compliance with the law.

Understanding the timeline and enforcement measures means organizers can navigate the evolving landscape of AI-powered events responsibly and mitigate potential risks associated with non-compliance.

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