Dr. S-W – 06/2020

In February the European Commission launched a debate on the safe and responsible use of artificial intelligence. In their White Paper it advocates a 'clear European regulatory framework', to protect civil and fundamental rights, including data protection, privacy, non-discrimination and consumer protection. 

The umbrella organisations of the German social security system participated with a Statement at the consultation. They point out that there is great potential in the development and use of artificial intelligence in a European exchange of experience. However, as far as social security and the services financed by it are concerned, supplementing already very general legal principles with an equally general "adaptation of the existing EU legal framework to take account of AI" does not bring additional legal certainty or added value. However, this does not preclude the possibility of reviewing certain individual provisions once more experience is available.

Especially with regard to the use in the administrative area of social security, the considerations about a potential use of AI are still in their infancy. For this reason, there is no experience in this country of dealing with the imperative of transparency, non-discrimination and final human decision making when using AI. Often it will be shown that fundamental problems exist in advance and independently of the use of AI, even independently of the use of algorithmic systems. This becomes clear when looking at first experiences of public administrations in dealing with AI and automatic decision-making systems in other (not only European) countries. Therefore, a discussion on a responsible handling of AI at the European level could provide very important indications for the German discussion that is now getting underway.

According to the position of the umbrella organisations of the German social security system, the use of AI and corresponding European cooperation has great potential for improving care, particularly in the health sector. In this context, a comprehensive use of data is also necessary, including the use of health data that are generated in the context of the provision of services by the statutory health insurance scheme or that are financed by it. This includes their use for training and learning of AI algorithms, as far as this serves e.g. to improve the quality of care or for research purposes.

However, it is important that we are cautious where data are concerned which not only concern facts observable in the natural sciences, but also include a legal derivation, e.g. in the question of whether an occupational disease or an accident at work is present. There is no direct comparability of such data here and it must first be examined whether a methodology for establishing comparability can be developed.