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The White Paper, or how the European Union deals with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the new electricity. Its development is a change that leads to a complete redefinition of human life in every aspect of it. From a legislative point of view, are we ready to function in an artificial intelligence environment? Do we have adequate legal means which, on the one hand, will protect us from potential damage and broadly defined defects of artificial intelligence and, on the other hand, will create a legal environment friendly to the development of artificial intelligence?

Although at the moment there is no legislation dedicated to artificial intelligence, the European Union is getting closer to regulating these technological areas. However, due to the level of complexity of the issue, achieving any compromise around artificial intelligence and working out effective rules for creating and operating AI is a long and tedious process.

If not the legislation, then what?

On 19 February 2020, the European Commission issued a “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence” and presented to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee a “Report on the impact of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Robotics on safety and responsibility”. Both of these documents are sets of proposals for action, setting the future direction of EU regulations and initiatives in the area of artificial intelligence. They are part of the new European Digital Strategy, whose main objective is to make Europe more innovative and competitive on the international scene, but also to function responsibly and ethically in a technological environment. The Commission, therefore, presents a regulatory and investment approach with the dual objective of promoting the use of artificial intelligence and addressing the risks associated with certain applications of this new technology.

The White Paper presents policy options for the safe development of a trusted artificial intelligence in Europe, while fully respecting and taking into account the values and rights of European citizens. The EC assumes that the new Artificial Intelligence Framework will be based on the criteria of excellence and trust.

“Ecosystem of excellence”

The European Commission points out that in order to build an ecosystem of excellence that can support the development and use of artificial intelligence across the EU economy and public administration, parallel action at several levels is necessary. This should include cooperation between the Member States and the appropriate targeting of the research and innovation community. In particular, the European Commission advocates developing cooperation networks between the various European Artificial Intelligence Research Centres and coordinating their activities in order to improve excellence, retain and attract the best researchers and develop the best technologies. Furthermore, the European Commission draws attention to the need to develop the skills needed to work with AI and to upgrade the skills of the workforce in order to prepare for a professional transition. The EC postulates the necessity of cooperation between the public and private sector, in order to jointly develop an environment conducive to the creation of artificial intelligence, as well as to create incentives to accelerate the adoption of solutions based on artificial intelligence.

The “Ecosystem of trust”

The European Commission is aware that the development of artificial intelligence involves many potential threats. To this end, the regulation of artificial intelligence must ensure respect for EU legislation, including rules to protect fundamental and consumer rights. The Commission strongly supports a human-centered approach, which will build on the Communication on building trust in human-centered artificial intelligence. In its further work, the Commission is committed to taking into account the input received during the pilot phase of the work on the ethics guidelines prepared by the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.

AI and data

The ‘White Paper’ also devotes a lot of attention to the very functioning of artificial intelligence, in particular with regard to the subject of the data used. With a single sentence in the White Paper, the essence of artificial intelligence is perfectly conveyed: “Without data, there is no AI.”

If there is not enough data, then products based on artificial intelligence will not be able, firstly, to learn the right behavior, secondly, to base their decision on a specific learned element. The quality and efficiency of the product depend largely on the quality, degree of precision and diversity of the data provided. In this respect, the European Commission calls for the creation of rules on the responsible use of data and the pursuit of solutions that prevent potential discrimination.

European innovation and artificial intelligence

In conclusion, the European Commission calls for a combination of three strengths: advanced technology and industry, high-quality digital infrastructure and regulation based on European values. This is to reflect the European ambition to become a global leader in innovation in the data economy.

“For Europe to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the IS, it must develop and strengthen its industrial and technological potential. This also requires the means to enable the EU to become a global data center”, concludes the White Paper.

The public consultation on the issue raised in the “White Paper” will last until 19 May 2020. The Commission invites the Member States, other European institutions and all interested parties, including industry, social partners, civil society organisations, researchers, the general public and any interested party, to give their views on the following policy options and to contribute to future Commission decisions in this area.

We will talk about safety and liability issues, which are broadly described in the report, in the next entry.



  1. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/commission-white-paper-artificial-intelligence-feb2020_pl.pdf
  2. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/PL/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0064&from=EN
#AI #artificial intelligence #EU #new technologies #white paper

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