26 Feb, 2020

Ethical considerations a key in Europe’s AI strategy

On 20 February, an extraordinary meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee with Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, was held, focusing on the European Commission’s approach to ethical questions and fundamental rights in its Artificial Intelligence and European Data Strategy.

Renew Europe Group’s goal is to establish a framework that enables the development of trustworthy, ethically responsible and technically robust AI, with increased investment capacities, data infrastructure, research and the definition of common ethical norms regulated at a European level.

Responding to the meeting, Karen Melchior, Coordinator of the Committee on Legal Affairs, commented:

"We must provide our European companies and start-ups the legal clarity to innovate, grow and be competitive, not only on the European, but also on the global market. I welcome the Commission’s focus on ethical and rights aspects, as we must maintain an emphasis on fundamental rights in our approach to artificial intelligence. Regulating AI and digital services is crucial, as these issues are already part of the everyday life of all Europeans, and we must continue to build on the strong EU data protection regulation.”

Stéphane Séjourné, Rapporteur of the report on Intellectual Property Rights for the development of artificial intelligence technologies and Shadow Rapporteur on the ethical aspects of AI, added:

"We must seize the opportunities and respond to the challenges of technologies: it is a matter of competitiveness for the EU and a necessity to reflect our common values. This week, the European Commission is taking a new step towards setting up an operational framework for the future of European digital sovereignty. As our group welcomes this human-centric approach, we will work in the same direction for the forthcoming debates in Parliament."

In parallel, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) also organised an extraordinary and comprehensive hearing on artificial intelligence in criminal law and its use by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters to address the key questions of AI's impact on fundamental rights, facial recognition or predictive policing.

Dragoş Tudorache, Vice-Coordinator of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and LIBE lead for the Renew Europe position on Artificial Intelligence commented:

"One of the key ingredients that will determine the success of artificial intelligence (AI), worldwide, is trust in the use of AI and AI applications. AI needs to be de-mystified and trusted, and the best way to do so is to ensure that we provide an environment where AI can thrive and grow while giving citizens peace of mind that their values and rights are respected. Building trust in AI and new technologies through transparency, accountability and an ethical framework for their development will ensure that European AI is competitive globally and that our society reaps the most benefits from its uptake."

Earlier this month, Renew Europe has launched its comprehensive position paper on Artificial Intelligence. You can access it here.

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