The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, has released a report outlining its plans to regulate the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector, adding to and expanding on the Commission’s aims to better prepare Europe for the digital age.
The announcement came via the Commission’s release of its latest report, titled “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence: A European Approach to Excellence and Trust”. This comes following the Commission’s earlier reports on “Shaping Europe’s Digital Future” and “A European Strategy for Data”.
The White Paper contains the Commission’s framework for a formal regulatory body focused on AI, but doesn’t propose specific rules or laws to be adopted.
Led by newly appointed president Ursula von der Leyden, the Commission’s report operates under the assumption that any future regulations would be applicable to products and services that rely on AI technologies.
It also notes that — without providing its own definition of AI — any future legislation should be flexible enough to accommodate technical progress while providing legal certainty.
To avoid any excessive restrictions on the industry, the Commission also proposes a ‘risk-based’ approach, where only AI applications deemed to be “high-risk” — involving significant risk to safety, consumer and fundamental rights — will be subjected to any mandatory requirements imposed in the future.
Healthcare, transportation, and criminal justice are some of the sectors specifically mentioned as potential “high-risk” in the White Paper, and the report recommends them as targets of regulatory oversight.
In the U.S., lawmakers are observing developments to see what the EU decides to do. In an email to CNBC, the U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios wrote, “We encourage the EU to follow America’s lead and pursue an innovation friendly, values-based approach to AI regulation, one which avoids over-burdensome, one-size-fits-all policies.”
Kratsios went on to write that ensuring that the U.S. and its allies remain leaders in AI innovation is the best way to advance the technology and combat any potential authoritarian abuse of the tech.
March 2, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis