Report: Making the AI Act work: How civil society can ensure Europe’s new regulation serves people & society
The EU Artificial Intelligence Act may be the most consequential legislation for the digital economy since the GDPR. Yet the temptation to move on to the next challenge after the formal adoption of the AI Act must be resisted. Laws are not self-executing. The AI Act implementation and enforcement will require ongoing engagement by civil society.
Civil society will need resources for research, education, capacity-building, technical assessments, policy analysis, conference organisation, investigation, communication, and advocacy training. Commitments must occur over a period of at least three years, from the present to 2026, when the Act is likely to go into force. This report, prepared for the European AI & Society Fund by the Center for AI & Digital Policy looks in detail at the challenges ahead and sets out a strategy for funders to build civil society capacity for implementation of the AI Act.
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- The Center for AI and Digital Policy undertook a comprehensive review of civil society’s capacity for AI Act implementation, based on a review of civil society’s stated goals, the results to date, and the strategic opportunities ahead.
- The AI Act may be the most consequential legislation for the digital economy since the GDPR. It sets out a risk-based framework for the regulation of AI systems in the EU market, and AI is the most rapidly advancing technology in the digital economy.
- Through outreach and education during the legislative development process, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) helped establish important safeguards for fundamental rights and ensure transparency and accountability for AI systems.
- During the upcoming negotiation among the EU institutions – the “trilogue” – there is a risk that key provisions civil society obtained could be watered down or removed. After the trilogue, important decisions will be made about risk classification, standard-setting, and the role of national supervisory authorities. Redress and strategic litigation will emerge as key priorities to ensure effective enforcement of the Act.
- Civil Society Organisations have developed high-level policy expertise and work well together, but there are substantial concerns about the challenges ahead and whether CSOs will have sufficient resources.
- AI systems are being rapidly deployed. Engagement now is likely far more effective than efforts to assess consequences later on.