A brief perspective about its future in the E.U.

October 2020 / Reading Time: 3 minutes

In June 2018, the European Commission named a group of independent experts on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) with a general objective to support the implementation of the European Strategy on Artificial Intelligence.

Everything started from the idea that AI can bring many benefits for a wide range of areas, like medical assistance, energy consumption, automotive, agriculture, climate change, managing financial risk, to name just a few. Moreover, the European Commission considered the impact that AI can have in a better management of fraud detection and cyber-attacks, allowing the authorities to fight criminality in a more efficient manner.

But with all this new era, new challenges arise, involving questions of trust in AI, raising legal and ethical issues in the process.

As a result, the European Commission, with the support of the independent experts group, established seven essential aspects that an AI must have in order to be trusted by the people. All these seven aspects were governed by the principle that an AI we can trust must respect all the applicable laws, as well as a series of requirements.

The seven essential aspects are the following:

1. Human involvement and supervision: AI systems should facilitate the existence of equitable societies by supporting the involvement of the human factor and respecting fundamental rights, without reducing, restricting or compromising human autonomy.

2. Robustness and safety: An AI that we can rely on requires that the algorithms are secure, reliable, and solid enough to cope with errors or inconsistencies throughout the entire life cycle of AI systems.

3. Respect for privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, which cannot be used for harmful or discriminatory purposes.

4. Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured.

5. Diversity, non-discrimination and equity: AI systems should take into account the full range of skills, competencies and requirements of the human factor and ensure accessibility.

6. Social and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to accelerate positive social change and promote sustainable development and environmental responsibility.

7. Responsibility: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure the responsibility and accountability of AI systems and their actions.

During 2019, the European Commission launched a pilot program inviting a wide range of interested parties to participate in developing AI based on the seven pillars mentioned above. Thereupon, businesses, public administrations and organisations were allowed to register for the European Artificial Intelligence Alliance, benefiting from the guidance and expertise of the high-level expert group designated to elaborate the guidelines for the AI strategy. 

As stated by the European Commission from the beginning of the program, one of the major objectives of the Commission was to reach an international consensus on the development of AI centred on the human factor.

Since technologies, data and algorithms are not limited by physical borders, the Commission wants to globally promote its approach to the ethical requirements applicable to AI.  For this purpose, cooperation with partners who share the same vision – such as Japan, Canada or Singapore – is a key factor towards the Commission is eagerly heading. All this while maintaining the desire to play an active role in the international discussions and initiatives, including in the G7 and G20.

The pilot stage of the program is due to be finished before the end of 2020, when members of the AI experts group will review the evaluation lists of the key requirements, based on the feedback received. 

Upon this review, the European Commission will evaluate the results and propose the next steps. But if your business is based on AI or you simply are an AI enthusiast, no matter what these steps will be, you should expect them with interest as AI is a technology that is here to stay, to continuously develop and improve every aspect of our human life.

Thank you for your time!