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Roundtable discussion on Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Human Values

On 15 November 2023, a roundtable discussion on Artificial Intelligence was hosted at the European Parliament by the First Vice-President of the EP, Othmar Karas, Responsible for the Article 17 Dialogue.

In his opening speech, Mr. Karas talked about the defining character of the future laws and regulations on AI: they need to protect our fundamental rights and to ensure our fundamental human values, to be human-centric, balanced, and trustworthy. Christian Ehler, the Chair of European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), talked about the new and challenging dimensions of AI and mentioned that the future documents will regulate only the dawn era of AI, addressing therefore technologies of the past. This problematic aspect was brought forward by other experts of the roundtable.

Jeroen van den Hoven, Professor of Ethics and Technology at Delft University of Technology, made several remarks regarding deeper concerns about the use of AI: first, the way AI generates chaos is one of the most urgent problems facing our society today. For example, AI makes the general population distrust more and more our traditional epistemic institutions, one of them being the mass-media. Second, it effaces the difference between important and trivial information, which complicates the search for what is relevant and what is not. Third, the use of AI needs to be optimised by responsible humans, meaning that there cannot be any fully autonomous AI systems. Fourth, AI has no concern for human privacy. Therefore, the privacy of life and of mental life, in the case of predictive AI, needs to be recognised and is implied in the human dignity right. Professor van den Hoven’s final point says that the Europeans must define what AI means to them to avoid this being done by others for Europeans:” If we do not bring our ethics to bear upon the AI effectively, continuously, transparently and carefully, then others may do it for us ineffectively, haphazardly, self-servingly and insidiously.”

Dragos Tudorache, Chair of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Age (AIDA) and the Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee’s (LIBE) rapporteur on the AI Act, said that the risks we face with the misuse of AI are not hypothetical, but real, and the changes will be profound: "This technology is going to change everything we do. Not only in the workplace, but in human interaction, the way society works and the way our countries function.” However, the most pressing problem now is the lack of education of the public on AI and its future consequences. There are not sufficient efforts done to elevate the understanding of the public regarding the future changes.


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