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Regulating Artificial Intelligence in EU 2020

EU lawmakers debated approaches to regulating Artificial Intelligence technologies on Tuesday the 12th of May 2020

Has the regulation process of AI been halted by the Coronavirus? At a time when machine learning is increasingly applied within critical societal functions such as healthcare regulation is becoming more important.

Although there has been a health crisis around the world with the largest pandemic the world has seen in a while that does not necessarily mean the field of artificial intelligence stops. It continues, and as it does it may be more important than ever to consider regulation. One obvious examples could be the way misinformation spreads in social media, however another one is the advance analytics one could use to understand how the Virus spreads — or if it does who might have gotten the virus.

That being said it does seem like he European Commission aims to publish a follow up to its White Paper on Artificial Intelligence in Q4 this year, but is also considering the necessity of delaying any further plans in the field until 2021. Of course this makes sense as many politicians and people working for the government are scrambling to fix dire issues relating to equipment or the rising amounts of death related to the Coronavirus.

Euractiv covered recent events as part of a series of debates in Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

At that time the MEPs exchanged ideas concerning several reports on Artificial Intelligence.

According to Euractiv — this covered ethics, civil liability, and intellectual property.

Therefore it is important to consider a uniform framework or how it will diverge across nation states.

Euractiv describes one Parliament initiative on the ethical aspects of AI, led by Spanish Socialist Ibán García del Blanco that is leaning more towards the uniform approach. García del Blanco said this on Tuesday, as reported by Euractiv:

Indeed now perhaps more than ever with biometric and remote technologies.

Do these respect EU’s data protection regime and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights?

One suggestions is an EU agency for artificial intelligence.

Contrary to this the conservative EPP’s shadow rapporteur on the file, Geoffroy Didier argued that setting up an agency would be a distraction.

Member of the European Parliament Stephane Sejourne from the centrist-liberal Renew group also did not warm up to the idea arguing that existing bodies could take on the work.

According to Euractiv a similar idea was circulating in a group for Robotics:

“In the previous mandate, as part of a 2017 resolution on Civil Law Rules on Robotics, Parliament had called upon the Commission to ‘consider’ whether an EU Agency for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence could be worth establishing in the future.”

One problem was how key definitions were described differently across different texts in the Parliament, thus possibly creating legal loopholes.

Within civil liability:

  • Axel Voss (European’s People Party) adopted a softer regulatory approach, saying that the EU should rely on existing frameworks as much as is possible, including the Product Liability Directive. He argued that ‘deployers are often just ordinary consumers’, thus liability should be more fairly distributed.

One important point was ensuring victims of AI accidents were not any less covered.

There is another initiative on intellectual property rights in AI led by Stéphane Séjourné (Parliament’s report ). She argued an impact assessment was needed on the field — of creation by automated means.

“Amendments to the Parliament reports are set to be debated in the Legal Affairs Committee later in June, ahead of a vote on the texts, currently scheduled for 28 September, after which a plenary vote will take place in October.”

As such following this going forward should be exciting.

What happens going forward is incredibly important.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 344. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My focus for day 300–400 is about AI, hardware and the climate crisis.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.