Brussels, April 21 2021: The European Commission has been preparing a proposal to regulate the field of AI to address public fears of surveillance and privacy infringements. The plan which has been in the works for a year will be unveiled on Wednesday. The debate among the 27 member states is expected to go on for a few more months before a definitive draft is achieved.
According to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the commission, Artificial intelligence is a vital tool in opening up new opportunities in fields ranging from precision farming in agriculture and more accurate medical diagnosis to safe autonomous driving but the the world cannot operate without basic rules or sets of principles.
The region has traditionally been slower in the field of technology, the internet revolution and AI compared to the huge economic giants US and their counterparts in China. The rules are part of the EU’s effort to set the terms on AI and catch up with the heavyweights in Silicon Valley. The AI sector is vital in that its promise spans from voice recognition to insurance and law enforcement.
Critics from both sides of the fence, including big tech firms and civil liberties groups have expressed competing concerns over the plans, arguing that the EU is either overreaching or not doing enough.
A very limited number of uses of AI that can threaten the EU’s fundamental rights will be banned according to the draft regulation shown to the press. The aim is to put a stop to generalized surveillance of the populace and also to minimize technology use to manipulate behavior, patterns or opinions and decisions of the public. This includes activities like a social rating of individuals based on their behavior or personality.
The rules will not cover applications of AI in military and anti-terrorism activities including guaranteeing public security. If found guilty of infringement, and depending on the seriousness of the charges, companies can face fines of up to 4percent in global turnover,
In a bid to provide clear legal frameworks for companies in all of the bloc’s 27 states, the draft regulation dictates a special authorization for high risk applications before companies can proceed with their development and introducing them to the market. Examples of high risk applications include remote bio metric ID and security elements in public infrastructure.
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