European Union unveils AI ethics guidelines

EU issues ethics guidelines for artificial intelligence

Europe is trying to catch up with both the U.S. and China.

AI systems are also expected by the EU's draft guidelines to be trustworthy enough to deal with errors and have secure and robust algorithms that can be traced back and are transparent.

Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.

Meanwhile, transparency and traceability of AI systems should be ensured, with diversity, non-discrimination and fairness vital to their accessibility.

And there should be mechanisms in place to make sure someone is responsible and accountable for the activities of robots and clever code.

Including University College Cork's Prof Barry O'Sullivan, the group will now make itself available to industry, research institutes and public authorities under a pilot phase to cooperate on what amounts to a loose framework for discouraging developers to follow a potentially unsafe path.

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The European Commission has laid out seven principles it believes will help create "trustworthy" AI programs while reaffirming that businesses must still comply with existing legislation on privacy, consumer protection and environmental standards.

These guidelines, said the European Union, are just preliminary, and in 2020 it will produce another report after receiving feedback from companies.

"Perhaps most fundamentally and significantly, release of the new guidelines is an opportunity for government, business, computing professionals and other stakeholders-particularly in the United States-to capture and channel the momentum of these discussions into real understanding of AI's potential and pitfalls", de Joya said. It will likewise include organizations from different nations and universal associations. The EU further says that developers should accept that "while bringing substantial benefits to individuals and society, AI systems also pose certain risks and may have a negative impact, including impacts which may be hard to anticipate".

Furthermore, to ensure the ethical development of AI, the Commission will by the autumn 2019: launch a set of networks of AI research excellence centres; begin setting up networks of digital innovation hubs; and together with Member States and stakeholders, start discussions to develop and implement a model for data sharing and making best use of common data spaces. These guidelines help lay out a path forward to realizing these goals.

The guidelines - which are not legally binding - includes a list of seven fundamental areas the European Union hopes will produce trustworthy and effective AI technology.

The announcement comes ahead of a pilot phase later this year, which will call on companies and public bodies to provide feedback.

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