The EU frames artificial intelligence: towards a more responsible AI?

The EU frames artificial intelligence: towards a more responsible AI?

On April 21, 2021, the European Commission presented a landmark proposal for a regulation to regulate the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) on its territory. This initiative, welcomed by many observers, aims to make Europe a world leader in responsible AI, while guaranteeing the protection of fundamental rights and citizens' interests.

The challenges of AI regulation

Artificial intelligence is a fast-growing technology with immense potential for many sectors, such as healthcare, transport, the environment and security. However, its development and use also raise important ethical and legal questions.

The fundamental principles of the European regulation

To meet these challenges, the European AI Regulation proposes a legal framework based on four fundamental principles:
  • Safety: AI systems must be designed and used in such a way as to ensure the safety of people, prevent harm and guarantee the protection of fundamental rights.
  • Transparency: citizens must be informed of the presence of AI systems and how they are used.
  • Fairness: AI systems must be designed and used in such a way as to avoid discrimination and promote fairness.
  • Responsibility: actors involved in the development and use of AI systems must be accountable for their actions.

The different categories of AI systems

The European regulation classifies AI systems into four categories according to their level of risk:
  • Unacceptable risk systems: these systems are prohibited, such as AI systems that select job applicants on the basis of their ethnic origin.
  • High-risk systems: these are subject to strict requirements, such as AI systems used in healthcare or transportation.
  • Limited-risk systems: these are subject to less stringent requirements, such as chatbots or recommendation software.
  • Minimal-risk systems: these systems are not subject to any particular requirements.

Obligations for players

The European regulation imposes a series of obligations on players involved in the development and use of AI systems, including :
  • A compliance assessment: actors must assess whether their AI systems fall into one of the four risk categories and, if so, comply with the applicable requirements.
  • Transparency obligations: actors must provide clear and accessible information on the AI systems they use, including their functionalities, purposes and potential risks.
  • Security measures: actors must implement adequate security measures to protect personal data and guarantee the security of AI systems.
  • A risk management system: stakeholders must implement a risk management system to identify, assess and mitigate the risks associated with the use of AI systems.

Towards more responsible AI?

The European AI Regulation is an important step towards more responsible AI. It establishes a clear and ambitious legal framework to ensure that AI is developed and used in a way that respects fundamental rights, personal safety and citizens' interests.However, it is important to note that the regulation is not a silver bullet. Much remains to be done to ensure that AI is indeed used responsibly.

Challenges ahead

Despite the progress made, several challenges remain to ensure more responsible AI in Europe:
  • Implementing the Regulation: implementing the European AI Regulation will be a major challenge for member states and companies alike. Tools and resources will need to be developed to help players comply with the new requirements.
  • Lack of data: the development of responsible AI systems requires large quantities of high-quality data. However, access to this data is often difficult, especially for small companies and startups.
  • Rapid technological evolution: AI is a constantly evolving technology, which means that the regulatory framework will need to be regularly updated to take account of new developments.
  • International cooperation: international cooperation will be essential to ensure that the European AI Regulation is compatible with regulatory frameworks in other countries.

Conclusion

The adoption of the European AI Regulation is an important step towards more responsible AI. However, it is important to note that this is only the beginning of a long process. Public and private players will need to work together to meet the challenges of implementing the regulation and ensuring that AI is used in a way that respects fundamental rights, personal safety and citizens' interests.

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