- 🤷 EU lawmakers can't decide on AI
🤷 EU lawmakers can't decide on AI
In today’s email:
The EU’s got one eye on Adobe
AI can make you better at drawing
So, that’s the song you’ve been humming!
Rain — it’s why you’re buying less Ben & Jerry’s
Latham and Links are advising on some juicy deals
Clearview AI swerved big trouble for privacy breaches
… and more!
EDITOR’S RAMBLE 🗣
Hey everyone — I hope applications season’s going well for you.
Sorry that this week’s newsletter’s come out later than usual because (to be honest) life got in the way.
Better late than never, I guess…
Let’s get to it!
FEATURED REPORT 📰
🤷 EU lawmakers can't decide on AI
What’s going on here?
The EU’s regulation for governing AI usage (creatively called the AI Act) still hasn’t been finalised, because lawmakers are stuck in legislative limbo.
What's the AI Act?
The AI Act is the EU's rulebook for managing AI use across its member states. The aim is to control the risks of AI tools (like ChatGPT) without stifling its benefits too much.
The Act classifies AI tools based on their perceived level of risk — (1) unacceptable risk, (2) high risk or (3) low risk. Then, based on the riskiness of the tool, it sets obligations on governments and companies which specify how they should use the tools.
For example, facial recognition AI tools fall into the unacceptable risk category — these are already banned in the EU.
When was it supposed to be finalised?
It was kickstarted in 2021 and was planned to be finalised by the end of 2023. But, because of the delays, it might even be pushed into next year now.
There are also EU parliament elections happening in June next year which could also get in the way.
Nonetheless, the rules are only set to come into force in 2025.
What's the hold-up?
Basically, different countries don’t agree on some major parts of the regulations.
The discussions in trilogue meetings (meetings between the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission) haven't yet ironed out all the differences.
Spain, which is spearheading the EU presidency until December, has proposed some compromises on these disagreement. But not all member states are on the same page with those either.
Why should law firms care?
The AI Act is a sign of the changing legal landscape around AI, which is a red hot topic for commercial law firms.
As businesses increasingly integrate AI into their products, they'll need legal guidance to jump through the new hoops that arise from the rules (so commercial lawyers — especially those working in tech — will be waiting to see what the regulations say!).
The UK’s not in the EU, so should I care about this?
It’s true that once it comes into force, the Act will only affect the EU member states.
While the UK isn't part of the EU anymore, the AI Act could serve as a benchmark for other nations (including the UK) aiming to pass their own AI regulations, which could be very similar.
The UK is already on its AI governance journey, publishing a white paper (a document showing the government’s thought for future legislation) laying down its pro-innovation stance.
The UK might take a more relaxed approach to AI regulation, which could make it an attractive destination for AI companies.
The US has already taken a more relaxed view than the EU when it comes to AI regulation. Tim Wright, a tech and AI regulatory partner at the law firm Fladgate thinks there’s a risk that the US could “steal a march” on European competitors because the stricter EU rules could slow down innovation.
How can law firms stay ahead?
Lawyers will need to get up to speed with the world of AI, the basics of how it works and what the rules say (once they’re finalised).
We’re actually thinking about creating a guide on AI in law if enough people would be interested. Vote below to let us know!
Want to see a guide on AI in law?
A BIT OF FUN 😄
i am law students 😭
IN OTHER NEWS 🗞
🇪🇺 The EU's antitrust squad is back looking into Adobe's whopping $20bn (£16.5m) offer for Figma, after a little break to wait for more info from both companies. The big worry? This merger might be very damaging to an Adobe rival and lessen competition in the design tool world. Before Adobe gets a green light, they'll probably have to address these concerns.
🏠 OnTheMarket's shares jumped 53% as US commercial real estate company CoStar plans to buy it for £99m. This move gives OnTheMarket some muscle to challenge other UK heavyweights like Rightmove and Zoopla. But it's not all rosy: the company did recently report a slight loss. Latham is advising the prospective buyer on this deal.
🤖 Clearview AI, the US-based facial recognition firm, successfully appealed against a privacy sanction from the UK's Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The US-based company was slapped with a hefty fine of £7.5m last year by the ICO for some serious privacy issues. But now, they've won their appeal, claiming their services fall under an exemption linked to foreign law enforcement, outside the jurisdiction of UK data protection law.
🍦 The makers of Ben & Jerry's and Magnum is blaming a drizzly summer in Europe for lower ice cream sales. Unilever, the parent company, mentioned that a mix of bad weather and folks opting for budget-friendly alternatives led to a 10% drop in sales volume. However, they bumped up the prices by over 8%, so their revenue in that sector only took a 3% hit. On the bright side, Unilever's beauty products like Dove and Vaseline saw a spike in sales.
🎤 Pras, a member of the iconic music group Fugees is asking for a retrial after being convicted conspiring with a Malaysian businessman against the US government. Pras claims his lawyer used AI to draft the closing statement, and not very well at that. He's now aiming to get his conviction reversed, blaming it on some subpar AI lawyering.
🗞️ The sale of the Telegraph newspapers and the Spectator is underway, despite the Barclay family's whopping £1bn bid to halt the auction. The auction’s high with potential buyers like Axel Springer (a huge German media company) and Lord Rothermere (a media mogul who owns Daily Mail) eyeing these influential assets. But it's not just a simple sale. UK regulators and even the government might step in, given the importance of these national media treasures. The Magic Circle firm Linklaters and the investment banking giant Goldman Sachs International have kicked off the sale process for The Daily Telegraph. (Want some background on this? We wrote about this deal before)
AROUND THE WEB 🌐
🎵 Music: You know that when you can hum a song but can’t remember it’s name? Well now you can now hum, whistle or sing a melody to Google to find a song you’re looking for!
⚽️ Sports: The GIST is a free sports newsletter led and written by women that covers the biggest headlines, including the social and cultural impact of sports. Sign up for free.*
🎨 Art: Turn your doodles into full-on drawings with AutoDraw (no sign-up needed). It’s an AI experiment that creates drawings from sketches. Look at how it works on my drawings 👇️
My original drawing
What AutoDraw created
* This is sponsored content
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