Artificial intelligence: the EU needs to act as a global standard-setter: AIDA
Parliament’s Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) adopted its final recommendations on Tuesday 22 March 2022, concluding 18 months of inquiries.
The adopted text says that the public debate on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) should focus on this technology’s enormous potential to complement humans.
The text warns that the EU has fallen behind in the global race for tech leadership. As a result, there is a risk that standards will be developed elsewhere in the future, often by non-democratic actors, while the EU needs to act as a global standard-setter in AI.
MEPs identified policy options that could unlock AI’s potential in health, the environment and climate change, to help combat pandemics and global hunger, as well as enhancing people’s quality of life through personalised medicine. AI, if combined with the necessary support infrastructure, education and training, can increase capital and labour productivity, innovation, sustainable growth and job creation, they add.
The EU should not always regulate AI as a technology. Instead, the level of regulatory intervention should be proportionate to the type of risk associated with using an AI system in a particular way.
Risks of mass surveillance
The draft text also stresses that AI technologies could pose crucial ethical and legal questions. It highlights the challenge of reaching a consensus within the global community on minimum standards for the responsible use of AI, and concerns about military research and technological developments into lethal autonomous weapon systems.
MEPs say that certain AI technologies enable the automation of information processing to an unprecedented scale. This paves the way for mass surveillance and other unlawful interference and poses a threat to fundamental rights, in particular the rights to privacy and data protection.
Authoritarian regimes apply AI systems to control, exert mass surveillance and rank their citizens, or restrict freedom of movement. Dominant tech platforms use them to obtain more information on a person. Such profiling poses risks to democratic systems as well as to the safeguarding of fundamental rights, say MEPs.
The report was adopted by the Special Committee with 25 votes to 2, with 6 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the full House in May