EU Commission advances work on AI ethical guidelines

The EU Commission is advancing work on the establishment of AI ethical guidelines to ensure they can be put into practice.

A group of industry experts were appointed in 2016 to establish guidelines which ensure that AI is developed sensibly.

There are seven key pillars to the EU’s ethical AI strategy:

  1. Human agency and oversight
  2. Robustness and safety
  3. Privacy and data governance
  4. Transparency
  5. Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness
  6. Societal and environmental well-being
  7. Accountability

The EU wants to promote its guidelines on the global stage. It plans on strengthening cooperation with ‘like-minded’ partners such as Japan, Canada, and Singapore, while engaging in dialogue with the G7 and G20.

Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, added:

“Today, we are taking an important step towards ethical and secure AI in the EU. We now have a solid foundation based on EU values and following an extensive and constructive engagement from many stakeholders including businesses, academia and civil society.

We will now put these requirements to practice and at the same time foster an international discussion on human-centric AI.”

Some experts have criticised the EU for its strict policies around the collection and processing of data, especially since GDPR came into effect.

Commenting on GDPR’s effect on AI startups for our sister publication IoT News, Digital Law UK Managing Director Peter Wright said:

“You’ve got your Silicon Valley startup that can access large amounts of money from investors, access specialist knowledge in the field, and will not be fighting with one arm tied behind its back like a competitor in Europe.

Very often we hear ‘Where are the British and European Googles and Facebooks?’ Well, it’s because of barriers like this which stop organisations like that being possible to grow and develop.”

While few debate the need for personal data to be protected, large amounts of it are needed for training AI models even if the data is anonymised.

Critics believe the EU’s strict policies will see the continent fall behind competitors such as the US and China; where data protection ranges from more lenient, to practically non-existent.

Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe at GSMA, welcomes the EU’s guidelines:

“The powerful combination of AI with 5G and The Internet of Things will transform entire industries and enable new disruptive services. Only with the right conditions will European companies be able to capture the full potential of AI and develop consumer trust in a new era of Intelligent Connectivity.

These guidelines are an important first step towards achieving the objective of unlocking innovation in AI while ensuring that acting ethically does not undermine Europe’s future competitiveness.

Members of the EU’s AI expert group will present their work tomorrow (April 8th) during the third ‘Digital Day’ in Brussels.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and their use cases? Attend the co-located AI & Big Data Expo events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more. Co-located with the IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo.

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