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European Parliament's Dialogue Seminar: "Artificial Intelligence: Ethical concerns"

On March 19, 2019, the seminar "Artificial Intelligence: Ethical concerns", chaired by Mairead McGuinness, the first Vice-President of the European Parliament, took place in the European Parliament building in Brussels. The event was held in the framework of Article 17 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, designed to implement a regular and honest dialogue between the EU institutions and churches.

The event was organized by the European Parliamentary Research Service on Artificial Intelligence and involved religious leaders, philosophers, ethics professors, and politicians. Our institution was represented by Rev. George Valcu, Secretary of the Representation of Romanian Patriarchate to the EU.

The advance of Artificial Intelligence does not only challenge the European citizens’ privacy, intimacy, data protection or the number and availability of jobs. It also involves threats to the dignity and singular character of the human person and to the autonomy and self-determination of human will. The representatives of churches, ethics professors, and philosophers summoned for the seminar detailed the need to offer a response to and integrate the new technologies, to give encouragement and a clear vision for the citizens of EU. They also demanded a clear demarcation between AI and human will, giving cautionary indications and stating the inalienable character of human rights.

On the other hand, Thomas Metzinger, member of the High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG), appointed by the European Commission to support the implementation of the European strategy on Artificial Intelligence, presented the conclusion of a process began in March 2018. After emitting the first draft AI Ethics Guidelines in December 2018, AI HLEG examined the readers’ feedback and changed the text extensively. The seminar "Artificial Intelligence: Ethical concerns" is the last step before adopting the document in a definitive form in May 2019.

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