The European Parliament adopts the recommendations of its special committee on artificial intelligence

This Tuesday, May 3, the European Parliament adopted the final recommendations of its special committee on artificial intelligence in the digital age (AIDA). MEPs thus highlighted that the use of artificial intelligence has enormous advantages in dealing with the issues of climate change, pandemics and the labor market. They also warned of the risks posed to fundamental rights, in particular respect for privacy.

AIDA’s final recommendations were adopted by 495 votes for, 34 against and 102 abstentions in the European Parliament.

The AIDA commission and the next steps

The Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Age started its activities in September 2020. In its mandate, its mission was to analyze the impact of AI on the EU economy and its different sectors, to analyze the strategy of third countries vis-à-vis AI and to chart the way forward. The committee held a number of hearings and debates to contribute to its final report, which aims to set out an AI roadmap to 2030.

The report will feed into future parliamentary work on AI, in particular AI legislation which is currently being considered by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Business Committees interior (LIBE). The AI ​​legislation is due for a joint vote by the two committees at the end of September.

Getting back into the race for global technological supremacy

The text clarifies that the public debate on the use of AI should focus on its enormous potential to complement human work. It indicates that the EU is lagging behind in the race for global technological supremacy. As such, it risks seeing the next AI standards being developed overseas, often by undemocratic actors. The Union must nevertheless act as a world reference on this subject, according to MEPs.

AIDA Commission Chairman Dragoș Tudorache said:

“Our future competitiveness in the digital sector depends on the rules we make today. These rules must be consistent with our values: democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and respect for the rules-based international order.

It is essential that we achieve this, because the gap between authoritarianism and democracy is constantly widening, taking with it more and more lives, as we see with the unjustified invasion of Russia in Ukraine. »

European parliamentarians have identified several policy options that could unlock AI’s potential for health, environment and climate change. In addition, this technology could contribute to the fight against pandemics and global famine as well as improve the quality of life of citizens through the creation of personalized medicines. According to MEPs, if combined with the necessary support for infrastructure, education and training, AI can also increase the productivity of capital and labor, contribute to innovation, drive sustainable growth and create jobs.

The EU should not regulate AI as a technology, say MEPs, and the level of regulatory intervention should be commensurate with the type of risk involved in using an AI system.

Mass Surveillance Risk

While acknowledging the EU’s desire to forge a global agreement on common standards with the aim of ensuring the responsible use of AI, MEPs call on like-minded democracies to work together to tackle this challenge at international scale. They also point out that AI technologies could raise big ethical and legal questions, raising concerns about military research and technological advances in lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Rapporteur Axel Voss said:

“With this report, we clearly demonstrate that AI will drive digitization and be a game-changer in the global race to digitize. In this regard, our AI roadmap puts the EU in pole position.

From now on, the EU must use this unique opportunity to push forward a reliable and human-centric approach to AI; a fundamental rights-based approach, which controls risks while reaping the full benefits that AI brings to society as a whole. We need both a regulatory framework open to innovation and a harmonized digital single market with clear standards, as well as maximum investment and a sustainable digital infrastructure accessible to all citizens . »

Furthermore, the Parliament observes that certain AI technologies enable the automation of information processing on an unprecedented scale, opening the way to mass surveillance and other unlawful interference with fundamental rights. As such, MEPs warn against the use that many authoritarian regimes could make of AI to control, carry out mass surveillance, categorize their citizens and restrict their freedom of movement, while the dominant technology platforms use AI to get more personal information about their users. For MEPs, this use of profiling presents a danger to democratic systems.

Therefore, according to the Parliament, the EU should prioritize international cooperation with like-minded partners in order to protect fundamental rights while cooperating to mitigate new technological risks.

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The European Parliament adopts the recommendations of its special committee on artificial intelligence


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