Parliament adopted a resolution on Europe’s digital future, reiterating the need for common EU rules on accessible and human-centric technology.
MEPs focused in the report on artificial intelligence (AI) as a technology that can enable and support Europe’s public and private sectors in the digital transition and called for more support for SMEs to help Europe’s businesses face the transition challenges. The resolution adopted today is a response to the Commission’s strategy for shaping Europe’s digital future in the years, and in it MEPs call on the Commission to address the challenges posed by the digital transition, such as digital skills, connectivity, and others. The resolution was adopted with 571 votes in favour (17 against, 105 abstentions).
Digital innovation key for SMEs
Parliament underlines the need for strong support for digital innovation, . EU lawmakers must guarantee any accompanying common legislation endorses trustworthy, fair, accessible and human-centric technology, for example with an adequate degree of human control over algorithmic decision-making. European SMEs need the right amount of support to benefit from new technologies, be it through testing facilities, better access to data, easier regulatory requirements or funding, MEPs add.
In the long-term, say MEPs, new technologies could help the transition to a circular and sustainable economy (by finding more circular business models, promoting energy efficiency of data processing and storage systems and optimising the use of resources). They could also have the potential to help respond to the needs of the EU’s urban, rural and isolated regions.
More trust and clearer rules needed
The resolution argues that AI solutions could diminish existing barriers and reduce the fragmentation of the internal market, support European digital economy and its competitiveness, contributing also to safety, security, education, healthcare, transport and the environment. At the same time, MEPs add that a clear legal framework for AI is a prerequisite for establishing trust in the technology, to avoid discrimination and to make sure the fundamental rights of Europeans are sufficiently protected.
Rapporteur Deirdre Clune (EPP, IE) said: "Artificial Intelligence can be positive and transformative. It could help us to face many societal challenges - from treating diseases to minimising the environmental impact on farming. But for AI to be successful in Europe, it needs to be trusted by Europeans, because Europe’s digital future and improving the use of AI will have a transformative effect across many sectors of society in the EU. To take full advantage of AI’s possibilities, we need to give our businesses and start-ups room for innovation and support investment."
Parliament has recently adopted several legislative and own-initiative reports on how AI should be regulated in the EU:
- Civil liability regime for artificial intelligence, Axel Voss (EPP, DE)
- Framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies, Iban Garcia del Blanco (S&D, ES)
- Intellectual property rights for the development of artificial intelligence technologies, Stephane Sejourne (Renew, FR)
- Guidelines for use of AI the military and civil sector, Gilles Lebreton (ID, FR).
- Artificial intelligence in education, culture and the audiovisual sector, Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE)
- Shaping the digital future of Europe: removing barriers to the functioning of the digital single market and improving the use of AI for European consumers, Deirdre Clune (EPP, IE)
- Artificial intelligence in criminal law and its use by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters, Petar Vitanov (S&D, BG)
- Report on artificial intelligence in a digital age, Axel Voss (EPP,DE)