Research Alert: The European Union’s AI Act: beyond motherhood and apple pie?

Authors: Nathalie A. Smuha and Karen Yeung

Abstract: In spring 2024, the European Union formally adopted the AI Act, aimed at creating a comprehensive legal regime to regulate AI systems. In so doing, the Union sought to maintain a harmonized and competitive single market for AI in Europe while demonstrating its commitment to protect core EU values against AI’s adverse effects. In this chapter, we question whether this new regulation will succeed in translating its noble aspirations into meaningful and effective protection for people whose lives are affected by AI systems. By critically examining the proposed conceptual vehicles and regulatory architecture upon which the AI Act relies, we argue there are good reasons for skepticism, as many of its key operative provisions delegate critical regulatory tasks to AI providers themselves, without adequate oversight or redress mechanisms. Despite its laudable intentions, the AI Act may deliver far less than it promises.

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Image credit: Wikimedia Foundation

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