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The European Union Parliament approved on Wednesday the world’s first major set of regulatory ground rules to govern mediated artificial intelligence at the forefront of technology investment.

The EU is brokering a temporary political consensus in early Decemberand was then approved in the parliament session on Wednesday with 523 votes in favor, 46 against and 49 abstentions.

“Europe is NOW the global standard setter in AI,” Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, wrote to X.

Created in 2021, the EU’s AI law divides technologies into risk categories ranging from “unacceptable” — which would ban the technology — to high, medium and low risk.

Some EU countries have previously advocated self-regulation instead of government-led restrictions, amid concerns that stifling regulation could hamper Europe’s progress in competing with Chinese and US companies in the technology sector. Among the naysayers are Germany and France, home to some of Europe’s most promising AI startups.

The EU is struggling to keep up with the impact on consumers of technological developments and the market dominance of key players.

Last week, the Union enacted landmark competition legislation designed to rein in the US giants. Under the Digital Markets Act, the EU can crack down on anti-competitive practices by big tech companies and force them to open up their services in sectors where their dominance has stifled smaller players and stifled consumer choice. Six companies — American titans Alphabet, Amazon, An apple, Meta, Microsoft and China’s Bytedance — were announced as the so-called “gatekeepers.”

Concerns about the potential for artificial intelligence to be misused are growing even as heavyweights such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google and chipmaker Nvidia beat the drum for AI investment.

Governments fear the possibility that deep fake fakes – forms of artificial intelligence that generate fake events, including photos and videos – could be deployed in the run-up to a number of key global elections this year.

Some AI proponents are already self-regulating to avoid misinformation. On Tuesday, Google announced it would limit the type of election-related queries that can be made to its Gemini chatbot, saying it had already rolled out the changes in the US and India.

“The AI ​​Act has pushed the development of AI in a direction where people control technology and where technology will help us use new discoveries for economic growth, societal progress and unlock human potential,” Dragos Tudorache, MEP who led EU negotiations on the agreement said on social media on March 12.

“The AI ​​Act is not the end of the journey, but rather the starting point for a new governance model built around technology. We must now focus our political energy to transform it from law on the books to reality on the ground,” he added.

This breaking news is being updated.