The adopted text says that the public debate on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) should focus on this technology’s enormous potential to complement humans.
The text warns that the EU has fallen behind in the global race for tech leadership. As a result, there is a risk that standards will be developed elsewhere in the future, often by non-democratic actors, while the EU needs to act as a global standard-setter in AI.
MEPs identified policy options that could unlock AI’s potential in health, the environment and climate change, to help combat pandemics and global hunger, as well as enhancing people’s quality of life through personalised medicine. AI, if combined with the necessary support infrastructure, education and training, can increase capital and labour productivity, innovation, sustainable growth and job creation, they add.
The EU should not always regulate AI as a technology. Instead, the level of regulatory intervention should be proportionate to the type of risk associated with using an AI system in a particular way.
Risks of mass surveillance
The draft text also stresses that AI technologies could pose crucial ethical and legal questions. It highlights the challenge of reaching a consensus within the global community on minimum standards for the responsible use of AI, and concerns about military research and technological developments into lethal autonomous weapon systems.
MEPs say that certain AI technologies enable the automation of information processing to an unprecedented scale. This paves the way for mass surveillance and other unlawful interference and poses a threat to fundamental rights, in particular the rights to privacy and data protection.
Authoritarian regimes apply AI systems to control, exert mass surveillance and rank their citizens, or restrict freedom of movement. Dominant tech platforms use them to obtain more information on a person. Such profiling poses risks to democratic systems as well as to the safeguarding of fundamental rights, say MEPs.
Lead MEP Axel Voss (EPP, DE) said: “With the AIDA report we clearly show that AI will be a booster for digitalisation and a game-changer in global digital competition, and our AI roadmap puts the EU in a position to take the lead.”
“The EU now has the unique chance to promote a human-centric and trustworthy approach to AI based on fundamental rights that manages risks while taking full advantage of the benefits AI can bring for the whole of society. We need a legal framework that leaves space for innovation, and a harmonised digital single market with clear standards. We need maximum investment and a robust and sustainable digital infrastructure that all citizens can access”, he added.
AIDA Committee Chair Dragoş Tudorache (Renew, RO) said: “Our future global competitiveness in the digital field depends on the rules we put in place today. These rules need to be in line with our values: democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights, and respect for the rules-based international order. This is paramount, as the struggle between authoritarianism and democracy is becoming more and more acute – and unfortunately more deadly, as we have seen with Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”
The report was adopted by the Special Committee with 25 votes to 2, with 6 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the full House in May.
The AIDA Committee started its work in September 2020. In its mandate, the committee was tasked with exploring the impact of AI on the EU economy and its different sectors, analysing the AI approach of third countries, and charting the road ahead. The committee held a number of hearings and debates to feed into the report. The AIDA final report is the committee’s main output.
Throughout this process, the members and staff gathered expertise and insights on various aspects of AI. This work fed into the committee’s final report, which aims to establish an AI Roadmap up to 2030. This meeting also concluded the work of the committee.
EU-Abgeordneter Axel Voss (CDU) zum Abschlussbericht des KI-Sonderausschuss AIDA
Der Sonderausschuss des Europaparlaments zur Künstlichen Intelligenz im digitalen Zeitalter (AIDA) hat heute seinen Abschlussbericht angenommen. Axel Voss (CDU), rechtspolitischer Sprecher der EVP-Fraktion und Berichterstatter des Abschlussberichts erklärt dazu:
„Künstliche Intelligenz wird die Digitalisierung vorantreiben und den globalen digitalen Wettbewerb entscheidend verändern. Wir wollen, dass die EU bei Künstlicher Intelligenz eine führende Rolle übernimmt.
Wir haben jetzt die einmalige Chance, einen menschenzentrierten und vertrauenswürdigen Regulierungsansatz für KI auf der Grundlage der Grundrechte zu fördern, der die Risiken beherrscht und gleichzeitig die Vorteile, die KI für die gesamte Gesellschaft bringen kann, voll ausschöpft. Das gilt gerade auch in den Bereichen Gesundheit, Nachhaltigkeit, Arbeitsmarkt, Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Sicherheit.
Um im Bereich der KI wettbewerbsfähig zu sein brauchen wir in Europa einen Rechtsrahmen, der Raum für Innovationen lässt. Zudem benötigen wir einen harmonisierten digitalen Binnenmarkt mit klaren Standards, maximale Investitionen sowie eine starke, robuste und nachhaltige digitale Infrastruktur. Wir müssen sicherstellen, dass wir beim digitalen Wandel niemanden zurücklassen und unsere Bürgerinnen und Bürger mit den notwendigen Kenntnissen ausstatten, auch um KI-Talente in der EU zu halten. Dafür müssen wir klare Prioritäten setzen und unsere Kräfte bündeln, um europäische Projekte in dem Bereich zu beschleunigen und umzusetzen.“
Der Sonderausschuss wurde im Jahr 2020 eingesetzt, um einen Fahrplan in Reaktion auf die wirtschaftlichen und gesellschaftlichen Herausforderungen von KI zu erstellen. Im Abschlussbericht wird hervorgehoben, dass die EU rasch handeln muss, um die Chancen der KI-Technologien zu nutzen. Das Plenum wird voraussichtlich im Mai darüber abstimmen.
Renew Europe seeks to make the EU an Artificial Intelligence standard setter
The digital revolution has triggered a global tech race, and the EU is currently falling behind, with only eight of the world’s top 200 Digital companies domiciled in our union. If the EU fails to set standards for human-centred Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on our ethical and democratic values, they will be decided elsewhere. The outcome could harm our economies, security and democratic systems. That is why Renew Europe has pushed for a union-wide regulatory framework to make the EU an AI-leader setting the global standards.
Finally, an important step forward has been taken. In a report today adopted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AIDA), MEPs identified several policy proposals for the EU to unlock the full potential of AI while also combating the challenges ahead.
Andrus Ansip, Renew Europe’s shadow rapporteur on the ‘Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age’ AIDA report, said:
“I consider this report as a good vision paper, which describes our ambitions and how to reach them. Our aim is to build human-centric AI in the European Union, which will serve our people while respecting their privacy.”
Focused on the fields of health, climate change, security, competition, democracy and the labour market, the report calls for establishing a risk-based AI framework with ethical standards and appropriate liability and sector-specific provisions.
Svenja Hahn, Renew Europe’s Coordinator in the AIDA committee, added:
“The final report of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence is an impressive achievement. For the first time, the European Parliament defined its vision for the role of Artificial Intelligence in our societies. It is now crucial to implement the main takeaways in the upcoming AI Act. The EU’s AI Regulation must foster tech innovation in Europe, support start-ups and SMEs, guarantee civil rights and ensure consumer protection in the digital age.”
Further, the report seeks to ensure that our digital infrastructure is climate-neutral and energy-efficient by 2030 through clear rules and guidelines for environmental impact assessments for AI. It also expresses the need to establish an EU Cyber Defence Agency to develop and implement clear EU-wide AI-procedures to respond to cyber-attacks.
The need to make EU champions in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, for instance, by improving access to financial resources and specific legal and technical support, is also highlighted in the report. It further emphasises the benefits of well-contained regulatory ‘sandboxes’, which would serve as a testbed for AI developers under controlled and supervised forms.
Dragoș Tudorache, chair of the AIDA Committee and rapporteur for the upcoming AI legislation, concluded:
“The AIDA report is a comprehensive take by the European Parliament on Artificial Intelligence that looks beyond the AI regulation, to the future of AI in Europe and the world. One key takeaway from the report is that we need to work with our like-minded democratic partners to shape the rules of the digital future together so that AI continues to be developed for the benefit of our citizens and our economies and in accordance with our values.”
Next step: The report is expected to be put to a vote in the May Plenary session of the European Parliament.
ECR shadow rapporteur Geert Bourgeois has called today’s adoption of the final report on artificial intelligence a critical missed opportunity. For years, the EU has been falling further behind other global players in the race to develop artificial intelligence.
Speaking after the vote, Mr Bourgeois commented: “The report should have sent a clear message: ‘EU, wake up!’ The stakes are extremely high: our technological future, our competitiveness, our prosperity and our geopolitical role. Unfortunately, this message has been lost in compromises that have no clear direction and a myriad of different topics which reflect the left’s allergy to everything that underlines how important competitiveness is.”
Bourgeois concluded: “The EU urgently needs a change of mentality or other world players will dictate the standards to us. The world is not waiting for us.”