Artificial Intelligence: MEPs presented their vision on forthcoming rules 

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The recommendations to the EU Commission on how AI should be regulated in the area of civil liability, ethical aspects and intellectual property rights were presented today in JURI.

Ibán García del Blanco (S&D, ES), rapporteur for the legislative report on Framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies said: “This is the first legislative initiative that the Parliament has tackled from such a holistic approach and is intended to cover a broad range of the different aspects of regulation of Artificial Intelligence. My intention is to put forward an ambitious, forward-looking legislative text that clearly sets out Parliament’s priorities”.

“AI, robotics and related technologies do not just present risks but also opportunities that contribute to progress and benefit social cohesion and the environment, they should in no case cause harm or damage to people or society. The draft report requires developers, deployers and users to be socially responsible and to protect democracy and health, equal opportunities, cultural and language diversity, digital literacy skills and gender equality”.

On privacy, Mr. del Blanco underlined that “GDPR and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will be fully applied under the proposal. The rules would also cover the use of remote or biometric recognition technologies, such as tracing apps. We are moving into a new way of dealing with COVID-19 and we should not lose of sight of the need to protect our fundamental rights, privacy and personal data”.

Axel Voss (EPP, DE), rapporteur for the legislative report on Civil liability regime for artificial intelligence said that “We need full harmonisation to create an EU Single Digital Market and to develop international Artificial Intelligence standards. We must look into technological neutrality, so as not to hinder any new developments in the field of AI but we still need clarity when it comes to civil liability.”

“The current EU liability regime has worked well but the development of AI means that things are quickly changing. I do not believe however that we need a huge legislative project at an EU level but we should rather adapt the rules that we already have. We want to send a clear message to developers that they will have a transitional period and the current rules will still apply so that innovation will be maintained”.

The rapporteur added that “the draft report looks into differentiating and defining low-level and high-level risks. We tried to strike a balance how we can differentiate between the two and bring in a liability regime for any AI system that will have a negative effect on the public. Our goal is to develop an EU-wide liability system that will help AI developers and users in all member states”.

Stéphane Séjourné (Renew Europe, FR), rapporteur for the own-initiative report on Intellectual property rights (IPR) for the development of artificial intelligence technologies, reminded that “Intellectual property and industrial property rights are intended to ensure the promotion of innovation and creativity, which is essential for the functioning of the European economy and the development of AI. It is also important to ensure that we have sovereignty over our technology in our legal framework.”

“The draft report recalls that we need an impact assessment of AI development of IPRs as a whole and we must protect technological developments for innovators, through patents for example. Another issue that arises in the report is the protection of artistic creations generated through AI”, added the rapporteur.

“Finally, I suggest to improve the mechanisms and the availability of data needed for the development of Artificial Intelligence. It is also important to remember the link between licences, contracts, the rights of intellectual property and how the availability of data ties in with that”, concluded Mr. Séjourné.

Next steps

The amendments to the reports are expected to be debated in the Legal Affairs Committee in late June or early July. The vote on the reports is scheduled for 28 September, followed by a plenary vote in October.

If you missed the exchange of views on Tuesday, you can watch it again here.