On February 19, 2020, the European Commission released the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, in order to promote a coordinated European approach for the development of AI and address the risks associated with the use of this technology. Two more related documents were published: the European Strategy for Data and an informative booklet titled Shaping Europe’s Digital Future.
Given Europe’s strengths in creating and producing AI and the increasing dependence in AI for economic growth and societal well-being, the White Paper and the measures and discussions it initiates are extremely important and relevant. The approach proposed by the Commission will be implemented through a number of policy options centered on assuring the excellence and trustworthiness of AI in Europe.
The excellence of AI will be pursued through a policy framework targeting a better collaboration between member states, focusing the efforts of the research and innovation community, improving the skills of the general population and helping small and medium-sized enterprises. The Commission will create incentives in order to increase the use of AI in the private sector.
For a trustworthy AI, the document offers a regulatory framework which follows the seven principles put forward through previous discussions led by the High-Level Group of Experts on Artificial Intelligence: human agency and oversight, technical robustness and safety, privacy and data governance, transparency, diversity, non-discrimination and fairness, societal and environmental wellbeing, and accountability. The need for future regulations is proved by the fact that certain areas, like transparency, traceability and human oversight in implementing AI are not specifically covered by the current legislation. The framework wishes to address the possible material and immaterial harms and risks posed by the use of AI. All high-risk AI applications will be controlled, especially when they are employed in a high-risk sector (transport, health, energy) or when the manner they are implemented can give way to significant risks.