EU's AI Act could exclude open-source models from regulation

FILE PHOTO: AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters are placed on computer motherboard in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) -The European Union's landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act may exempt open-source models from strict regulation, according to a leaked compromise proposal seen by Reuters.

Lawmakers and governments were still wrangling on Thursday morning over several key issues concerning the governance of AI, after talks extended through the night into a second day.

The EU has been trying to finalise details of the draft rules proposed by the European Commission two years ago, but has struggled to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology.

According to the document, which circulated among lawmakers on Thursday morning, the AI Act would not apply to free and open-source licences unless, for example, they are deemed high-risk or being used for already banned purposes.

Open-source refers to the free and open sharing of software code, allowing anyone to contribute to upgrading it or resolving bugs.

Microsoft-backed OpenAI was founded as an open-source nonprofit, before co-founder Sam Altman pivoted to a capped-profit structure in 2019

Notable European companies operating in the open-source AI space include France's Mistral and Germany's Aleph Alpha, both of which have previously criticised European proposals to regulate the technology.

(Reporting by Martin Coulter, Supantha Mukherjee and Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey and Mark Potter)

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