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EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation

19-09-2019

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019 ...

The discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and their impact on society is increasingly focused on the question of whether AI should be regulated. Following the call from the European Parliament to update and complement the existing Union legal framework with guiding ethical principles, the EU has carved out a 'human-centric' approach to AI that is respectful of European values and principles. As part of this approach, the EU published its guidelines on ethics in AI in April 2019, and European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the Commission will soon put forward further legislative proposals for a coordinated European approach to the human and ethical implications of AI. Against this background, this paper aims to shed some light on the ethical rules that are now recommended when designing, developing, deploying, implementing or using AI products and services in the EU. Moreover, it identifies some implementation challenges and presents possible further EU action ranging from soft law guidance to standardisation to legislation in the field of ethics and AI. There are calls for clarifying the EU guidelines, fostering the adoption of ethical standards and adopting legally binding instruments to, inter alia, set common rules on transparency and common requirements for fundamental rights impact assessments, and to provide an adequate legal framework for face recognition technology. Finally, the paper gives an overview of the main ethical frameworks for AI under development in countries such as the United States and China.

What if a simple DNA test could predict your future?

22-03-2019

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. The wealth of information available to researchers allows them to create a polygenic risk score based on the DNA test of a person. This can be used to predict a person's chances ...

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. The wealth of information available to researchers allows them to create a polygenic risk score based on the DNA test of a person. This can be used to predict a person's chances of getting a disease, his or her traits and behaviour, and many other things about their future. Are these predictions flawless? Who would benefit from them? What are their implications for a person's life in general?

Robots in healthcare: a solution or a problem?

15-03-2019

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of a workshop on the use of robots and AI in healthcare, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday 19 February 2019. The aim of the workshop was to provide background information and advice for Members of the ENVI Committee on the status and prospects of applying robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies in healthcare. The first part of the workshop focused on the practical application of AI and robots in healthcare ...

This report summarises the presentations and discussions of a workshop on the use of robots and AI in healthcare, held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday 19 February 2019. The aim of the workshop was to provide background information and advice for Members of the ENVI Committee on the status and prospects of applying robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies in healthcare. The first part of the workshop focused on the practical application of AI and robots in healthcare, while the second part examined the ethical implications and responsibilities of AI and robotic based technologies in healthcare.

Externý autor

Zrinjka DOLIC, Milieu Consulting Rosa CASTRO, Milieu Consulting Andrei MOARCAS, Milieu Consulting

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles?

20-11-2018

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively ...

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively using algorithms. Algorithms implicitly or explicitly are not neutral as they comprise essential value-judgments that can potentially have race or sex biases. This raises an important question: is it possible to develop and ensure that algorithms are ethical?

Towards a binding international treaty on business and human rights

08-11-2018

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has brought numerous opportunities while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, and a lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding ...

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has brought numerous opportunities while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, and a lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding corporate interests. This situation has created a pressing need to establish international norms regulating business operations in relation to human rights. So far, the preferred approach has been 'soft', consisting of the adoption of voluntary guidelines for businesses. Several sets of such norms exist at international level, the most notable being the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Nevertheless, while such voluntary commitments are clearly useful, they cannot entirely stop gross human rights violations (such as child labour, labour rights violations and land grabbing) committed by transnational corporations, their subsidiaries or suppliers. To address the shortcomings of the soft approach, an intergovernmental working group was established within the United Nations framework in June 2014, with the task of drafting a binding treaty on human rights and business. After being reluctant at the outset, the EU has become involved in the negotiations, but has insisted that the future treaty's scope should include all businesses, not only transnational ones. The 'Zero Draft' published in July does not reflect the EU's position on this point. It has been welcomed by experts for its more precise focus on prevention, on effective remedies and access to justice for victims, and on companies' liability for their subsidiaries and suppliers in third countries. The European Parliament is a staunch supporter of this initiative and has encouraged the EU to take a positive and constructive approach. This is a further updated edition of a Briefing published in April 2018, PE 620.229.

Sexual and reproductive health rights and the implication of conscientious objection

31-10-2018

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent to which conscientious objection affects access to sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR). The study will contribute to formulating a clear framework for the improvement of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods and services in the EU.

Externý autor

CF Consulting Services Ltd Ludovica ANEDDA, Lucy ARORA, Luca FAVERO, Nathalie MEURENS, Sophie MOREL, Martha SCHOFIELD (ICF); Senios experts: Prof Anette AGARDH (Lund University), Prof Els LEYE, independent consultant (Ghent University); National researchers: Czech Republic: Klara KOVAROVA (ICF); Croatia: Jelena MILOVANOVIC (ICF); Italy: Thomas TAYLOR-DI PIETRO, Ludovica ANEDDA (ICF); Poland: Krystyna KACPURA, Kamila FERENC (Federation for Women and Family Planning); Portugal: Dália COSTA (University of Lisbon); Sweden: Jack PALMIERI (Lund University).

What if technologies challenged our ethical norms?

06-09-2018

Exploring the relationship between ethics and technological innovation has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. The multiplication of legal references to ethical principles and the mushrooming of ad hoc ethics committees indicate ...

Exploring the relationship between ethics and technological innovation has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. The multiplication of legal references to ethical principles and the mushrooming of ad hoc ethics committees indicate the institutional embedding of ethics into the scientific research process as such, but also into an increasing array of technological trajectories. Yet the rapid development of disruptive technologies means that social and ethical norms often struggle to keep up with technological development. But what if disruptive technologies were to challenge traditional ethical norms and structures?

What if technologies had their own ethical standards?

06-09-2018

Technologies are often seen either as objects of ethical scrutiny or as challenging traditional ethical norms. The advent of autonomous machines, deep learning and big data techniques, blockchain applications and 'smart' technological products raises the need to introduce ethical norms into these devices. The very act of building new and emerging technologies has also become the act of creating specific moral systems within which human and artificial agents will interact through transactions with ...

Technologies are often seen either as objects of ethical scrutiny or as challenging traditional ethical norms. The advent of autonomous machines, deep learning and big data techniques, blockchain applications and 'smart' technological products raises the need to introduce ethical norms into these devices. The very act of building new and emerging technologies has also become the act of creating specific moral systems within which human and artificial agents will interact through transactions with moral implications. But what if technologies introduced and defined their own ethical standards?

Cross-Border Exchange and Comparison of Forensic DNA Data in the Context of the Prüm Decision

07-06-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of the Prüm regime. It first considers the background of the Prüm Convention and Prüm Decision. The subsequent two chapters summarize the Prüm regime in relation mainly to DNA data looking at value and shortcomings; and ethical, legal and social implications of forensic DNA typing and databasing in relation to the Prüm regime. Finally, based on the analysis, it provides the policy recommendations.

Externý autor

Dr. Victor TOOM

Understanding artificial intelligence

11-01-2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems already permeate daily life: they drive cars, decide on mortgage applications, translate texts, recognise faces on social networks, identify spam emails, create artworks, play games, and intervene in conflict zones. The AI revolution that began in the 2000s emerged from the combination of machine learning techniques and 'big data'. The algorithms behind these systems work by identifying statistical correlation in the data they analyse, enabling them to perform ...

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems already permeate daily life: they drive cars, decide on mortgage applications, translate texts, recognise faces on social networks, identify spam emails, create artworks, play games, and intervene in conflict zones. The AI revolution that began in the 2000s emerged from the combination of machine learning techniques and 'big data'. The algorithms behind these systems work by identifying statistical correlation in the data they analyse, enabling them to perform tasks for which intelligence is required if a human were to perform them. Nevertheless, data-driven AI can only perform one task at a time, and cannot transfer its knowledge. 'Strong AI', able to display human-like intelligence and common sense, and which might be able to set its own goals, is not yet within reach. Despite the fears portrayed in film and TV entertainment, the idea of a 'superintelligence' able to self-improve and dominate humans remains an esoteric possibility, as development of strong AI systems is not predicted for a few decades or more, if indeed development ever reaches this stage. Nevertheless, the development of data-driven AI systems implies adaptation of legal frameworks on the collection, use and storage of data, due to privacy and other issues. Bias in data supplied to AI systems can also reproduce or amplify bias in the decisions they make. However, the key issue remains the level of autonomy given to AI systems to make decisions that could be life-changing, keeping in mind that they only provide recommendations, that they do not understand the tasks they perform, and that there is no way to know how they reach their conclusions. AI systems are expected to impact society, especially the job market, and could increase inequalities. To counter the abuse of probabilistic prediction and the risks to privacy, in April 2016 the European Parliament and the Council of the EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation. The European Parliament also requested an update of the Union legal framework on robotics and AI in February 2017.

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