European Parliament works on a legal framework and sets up special committees.

SW – 06/2020

In April 2020, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament presented a draft report on a legal framework for the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and related technologies. The report contains recommendations to the European Commission and a draft proposal for a regulation on ethical principles governing the development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies. The aim is to build trust in the technologies.

Once again, MEPs propose the creation of an artificial intelligence agency. The European Parliament had called for this in its resolution on civil regulations in the field of robotics dated 16 February 2017. A European artificial intelligence agency could develop common criteria and an application procedure for a European certificate of compliance with ethical principles.

The report also addresses the social responsibility of artificial intelligence. Socially responsible artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies are designed to protect and promote fundamental values of our society, including health and economic prosperity, equal opportunities and workers' and social rights.

The social aspects of artificial intelligence, and in particular its impact on the working environment, are also addressed in the draft proposals of the Advisory Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (only available in English). The Committee points out the potential of artificial intelligence to help improve working conditions and quality of life. At the same time, the Committee warns of the risks of disproportionate and illegal surveillance of workers and discriminatory treatment, based on 'biased algorithms'.

As a matter of course, the Committee calls for a legal framework for the ethical aspects of AI applications in the workplace, particularly with regard to workers' rights and working conditions. It is necessary to assess the impact of AI applications in enterprises and public administrations in terms of employees, workplaces and workflows. Prior to application of artificial intelligence, workers and their representatives must be given sufficient information and being consulted.

The draft is expected to be discussed in a plenary session in October 2020. The European Parliament is also working on a report on civil liability in the use of artificial intelligence and on a report on intellectual property rights in the development of AI technologies.

AI Special Committee

In future, an AI Special Committee will advise the standing committees. This was decided by the European Parliament in its session on 18 June 2020 . The Special Committee should address the implications of AI and develop medium and long-term common EU objectives and the most significant steps for their implementation.

The Special Committee was initially established for a period of 12 months, but this period may be extended.

Global partnership on artificial intelligence

On 15 June 2020, 14 countries, including Germany, and the European Commission joined forces in the "Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence" (GPAI) to pool their expertise in the field of artificial intelligence. The purpose of this body is to bring together leading experts to collect and assess the latest technological developments and, on this basis, advise the governments of the Member States.

Coordination within the partnership is carried out by the Office of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). A total of four working groups will deal with the topics of "Responsible AI", "Handling of Data", "Future of Work" and "Innovation and Commercialisation". The working groups will be constituted in July 2020 and will initially deal with the question of how AI applications can help in research and in tracing infection chains during the corona pandemic.