Artificial Intelligence Act: DIGITAL SME welcomes risk-based approach, encourages even stronger focus on innovation

  • The European Commission has today published its long-awaited Artificial Intelligence Act, consolidating and harmonising European rules on AI.

  • DIGITAL SME welcomes the European Commission’s balanced approach, which focuses on strictly regulating high-risk AI but leaves room for companies to try out new applications in “regulatory sandboxes”.

  • Through the Focus Group Artificial Intelligence, the Alliance will continue working with the European institutions to ensure that regulation facilitates the development and uptake of AI in SMEs.

The European Commission today has published its long-awaited proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Act, which will now be discussed in the Parliament and Council before becoming law. To mitigate public concerns about the use of unethical AI applications, the EC proposes to ban a number of AI applications which manipulate human behaviour or conduct social scoring. The bans concern “subliminal techniques beyond a person’s consciousness in order to materially distort a person’s behaviour in a manner that causes or is likely to cause that person or another person physical or psychological harm.” Notably, biometric identification will still be allowed for law enforcement purposes.

High-risk uses of AI like in employment or migration control will be admitted if the companies show that they comply with EU standards. For this purpose, companies will go through a self-assessment of conformity, while national authorities carry out regular compliance checks. In addition, the proposal includes creating “regulatory sandboxes” to allow smaller businesses to experiment and innovate with AI without fear of reproach. Stelian Brad, a member of DIGITAL SME’s Focus Group Artificial Intelligence, commented: “Our group of AI-using enterprises will continue to work with the Commission to ensure that AI regulation facilitates the uptake of artificial intelligence in SMEs. Ensuring AI adoption of smaller businesses is crucial for advancing innovation in Europe and working towards digital sovereignty”.

We look forward to discussing the proposed regulation and its potential consequences with the Focus Group and will continue working with the European Commission to make sure that the regulatory approach will address ethical issues with AI without encumbering SME innovation.