AI literacy of employees according to the AI Act – Practical tips for employers for successful implementation


The following article outlines the requirements employers must meet regarding the AI literacy of their employees.

After the final adoption of the AI Act by the Council of the European Union, it is important for employers to familiarize themselves with the obligations they will face. 

Article 4 AI Act imposes extensive duties on employers, regardless of the risk level of the AI systems used. This blog post examines the content of the regulation and provides guidance on how employers can successfully implement the requirements within their organizations.

AI literacy according to Article 4 AI Act

If employers decide to use externally developed AI systems under their own responsibility within the company, they are considered deployers under the AI Act and are therefore subject to Article 4 AI Act. Employers who develop or have developed a general-purpose AI system or AI model and market or operate this system under their own name for internal use are also considered providers under the AI Act and are subject to this provision.

AI system’ means a machine-based system that is designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy and that may exhibit adaptiveness after deployment, and that, for explicit or implicit objectives, infers, from the input it receives, how to generate outputs such as predictions, content, recommendations, or decisions that can influence physical or virtual environments (Article 3 (1) AI Act)

Article 4 AI Act obliges employers to take measures to ensure, to their best extent, a sufficient level of AI literacy of their staff and other persons dealing with the operation and use of AI systems on their behalf, considering their technical knowledge, experience, education and training and the context the AI systems are to be used in.

AI literacy’ means skills, knowledge and understanding that allow providers, deployers and affected persons, considering their respective rights and obligations in the context of the Regulation, to make an informed deployment of AI systems, as well as to gain awareness about the opportunities and risks of AI and possible harm it can cause (Article 3 (56) AI Act).

In summary, employees must be capable of competently using AI systems while being aware of both the opportunities and risks. Employers are required to take appropriate measures, within their available resources and technological capabilities, to impart these competencies to their employees. This should be done with consideration of each employee's current level of knowledge and the context in which they will use the AI system.

Training strategies for imparting AI literacy

Before deciding how to impart AI literacy to their employees, employers should first assess the individual AI knowledge level of all employees in accordance with legal requirements. Based on these results, employees can then be divided into different groups. This allows training programs to be tailored to the specific needs of each group. For example, training programs for employees who are already experienced with AI can have different focuses than those for employees who have not yet encountered AI in their daily work.

Specific continuing education opportunities

To best impart AI knowledge to employees, a combination of theoretical and practical training is advisable. Theoretical training should provide employees with a solid foundation of basic AI knowledge, including the legal regulations outlined in the AI Act.

In addition, practical training is crucial as it helps employees apply the theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Code of conduct for AI usage

It is also essential for employees to understand what they need to consider when using AI. To avoid legal violations in the use of AI, a code of conduct summarizing the regulations to be followed should be established. This provides clear guidelines for employees to follow, ensuring they adhere to the required standards and practices.

Taking early action to provide employees with AI expertise

Even though Article 4 AI Act will only come into effect six months after the AI Act itself takes effect in August (Article 113 (2) AI Act), it is advisable for employers to take measures now to impart appropriate AI literacies to their employees. This is due to the growing importance of AI in everyday work and the expected training needs, given the lack of extensive prior knowledge. Early preparation ensures that companies are well-prepared when the regulation becomes relevant, while also enabling optimal utilization of the benefits of AI technologies.