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46 European countries adopt AI treaty

46 European countries adopt AI treaty
17 May 2024 16:39


Foreign ministers of the 46 nations of the Council of Europe on Friday agreed on a treaty on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported.

"With this new treaty, we aim to ensure a responsible use of AI that respects human rights, the rule of law and democracy," said the council's Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić in a press release.

The Council of Europe Framework Convention on AI is the first binding international treaty on the technology. Though drafted under the umbrella of the Council of Europe, other countries can sign it.

Transparency, Oversight and Privacy

Among other things, signatories agree to create provisions in their national laws that ensure there is proper transparency, oversight and accountability in the use of AI systems. They also commit to ensuring AI systems don't discriminate unfairly or violate people's privacy.

The convention is distinct from the European Union's forthcoming AI Act, though the EU participated in drafting the new treaty. While the convention is a set of broad principles that signatories must uphold in their own national laws, the AI Act is a specific and detailed regulation applicable in the 27 EU countries.

EU ministers are expected to give their final approval to the AI Act on Tuesday. The Council of Europe and the European Union are entirely separate organisations, though all 27 EU member states are among the council's 46 members.

Eleven countries that are not council members participated in drafting the convention, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and the Vatican.

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