The European way to artificial intelligence: the protection of human rights and vulnerable groups in the new AI regulation 

The recent proposal for an AI Regulation of the European Commission lays the foundation for a new approach to shape the digital future of Europe. The provision is the first horizontal and binding legal instrument to boost AI’s innovation and competitiveness while protecting fundamental rights. Such new framework acknowledges that some uses of AI may jeopardise human rights (privacy, dignity, freedom of expression) and therefore must be banned, marking a significant improvement towards civil society and human rights activists from previous policy documents. Against this background, the paper assesses the role of different interest groups, considering the extent to which such perspectives made their way through the policy cycle, from the impact assessment to the public consultation. In doing so, the paper provides an early evaluation of the proposal through the lenses of vulnerable groups and offers insights on the success of the EU in acting as an ally of marginalised individuals.