Artificial Intelligence

EU Considers Tightening AI Regulations For ‘High-Risk’ Sectors

The EU will make new rules on AI

Seeking to keep things ethical in the development of artificial intelligence (AI), the European Union wants to enact legally binding requirements for makers of the technology.

Their executive arm is set to propose new rules that apply to “high-risk” sectors, like health care and transport. High risk is defined here as applications of AI that could have legal risks or could potentially cause injuries.

They will suggest that the bloc update the rules for safety and liability. The information comes from a draft of a “white paper” obtained by Bloomberg. The European Commission is due to unveil the paper next month, and what Bloomberg reported on will likely not be the final version.

The paper is part of a broader effort by the EU to catch up to the U.S. and China, which have both had more advancements on AI. But the paper will also promote European values like privacy.

Critics say that stringent data protection laws like the EU’s could hinder innovation around AI, but EU officials say they want to harmonize and streamline rules in the region. The effect will be a boost to development.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said her team would present a different legislative approach to AI within the first 100 days of her mandate, which started Dec. 1. She’ll be handing the task to EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager to coordinate everything.

Facial recognition is among the things the EU might look at regulating. The documents obtained by Bloomberg state that the EU wants to urge its member states to apply stricter and more detailed rules around facial recognition technology, especially on its use in public spaces.

The provision suggests prohibiting the use of facial recognition in both private and public until the risks of the technology can be properly assessed.

The report outlined a set of objectives that could rule AI safe and trustworthy, including human oversight, respect for privacy, traceability and avoiding unfair bias when the systems make decisions.

The U.S. is surging in patents for artificial intelligence, with around 50 percent of IBM's new patents related to the tech. And in China, artificial intelligence has also been a huge boon, reshaping their financial services landscape.

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