EC begins AI ethics push

09 MAR 2018

The European Commission (EC) announced plans to set up a group dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI), with the aim of addressing ethical issues surrounding the technology.

In a statement, the EC said the AI group will gather “expert input and rally a broad alliance of diverse stakeholders” as well as draw up a proposal for guidelines on AI ethics.

The European watchdog noted AI can bring major benefits to society and the economy, from better healthcare to safer transport, but said questions related to the impact of AI on the future of work and existing legislation continue to be raised.

“This calls for a wide, open and inclusive discussion on how to use and develop artificial intelligence both successfully and ethically sound,” the EC said.

As part of the push, the EC announced it had opened up applications for companies and individuals to join the group, and those chosen to participate will be tasked with advising the commission on how to build a broad and diverse community of stakeholders in a “European AI Alliance”, and support the implementation of an upcoming European initiative on AI.

In addition, the group will be expected to come forward by the end of the year with “draft guidelines for the ethical development and use of AI based on the EU’s fundamental rights”.

Unlocking benefits
The upcoming initiative on AI refers to a joint declaration from the European Union, struck in December 2017, which called for a high level of data protection, digital rights and ethical standards in AI and robotics.

A call for applications to join the AI group will end on 9 April, and the commission aims to set up the group by May. The group will build on work done by other experts in the field, and the commission said it will also work closely with member states.

EC VP for the digital single market Andrus Ansip (pictured, right) added: “Step by step, we are setting up the right environment for Europe to make the most of what artificial intelligence can offer.”

The move builds on a statement by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, released today (9 March), which also called for a wide-ranging process of public deliberation on AI ethics.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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