AI Ethic Guidelines published: Paving the way for European-led AI

9 April 2019, Brussels – The European Commission expert group has published the final version of its Ethic Guidelines for Trustworthy AI. The Ethic Guidelines provide a good framework to develop innovative AI solutions in a trustworthy and human-centric manner. Now, investment and policies for an innovation friendly eco-system should follow.

Business interactions and the uptake of new technologies need trust. The strategy on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed by the European Commission is based on a key strength of the EU: As a democratic and rule-based political entity, policy-makers truly care about the best interests of consumers and citizens. Therefore, solutions following strict ethical principles can provide a competitive edge. Common branding such as ‘Trustworthy AI made in Europe’ are thought to give companies a competitive advantage in global markets. Further, the wide introduction of AI solutions will be more sustainable and commonly accepted if the solutions respect personal autonomy and avoid bias.

The Ethic Guidelines developed by the AI High Level Expert Group propose concrete guidance and an assessment list to develop trustworthy AI. DIGITAL SME has contributed to drafting the guidelines through its expert Dr. George Sharkov, and believes they provide a good framework to develop innovative AI solutions in a trustworthy and human-centric manner.

AI is not only transforming our industry and society, but also opening up new markets and business opportunities for SMEs in the digital sector. Therefore, to pave the way to European-led AI, policy-makers need to ensure that they foster an innovation-friendly environment for companies. Customers will not only care about trustworthy solutions, but also take decisions on the basis of whether they see immediate added-value, and whether new products or services bring direct benefits to them. Thus, supporting innovation and the competitiveness of European businesses must be the primary focus of EU financial frameworks and programmes. Other world regions have led by example in creating favourable conditions – financially, legally and attracting skills & talent – to foster an innovation-friendly eco-system. In Europe, we need to follow suit.

Compared to other regions like the US or China, Europe still needs to walk an extra mile to catch up with the development of Artificial Intelligence, especially in its real-world implementation. However, European digital SMEs produce AI solutions that are trusted by the consumers: they offer more security, privacy and higher quality.’ – commented Dr. Oliver Grün, President of DIGITAL SME.

DIGITAL SME’s priorities to pave the way for Europe-led AI:

  • Encourage investment in the development of AI technologies and necessary infrastructure.
  • Provide funding for and access to high performance computers.
  • Ensure access to data (especially for SMEs) which is a core requirement for machine learning and automated data analysis.
  • Provide a sustainable regulatory framework of AI with fundamental rights and the rule of law at its centrepiece. This framework must be complemented by ethics and a human centred approach to AI.
  • Create clusters and pilot projects of data sharing between research and companies. Foster an open access to re-usable public sector data.
  • Ensure that the manufacturers of data-producing machines provide the open (or openly documented) interfaces which enable SMEs to read and use non-personal data.
  • Allow and encourage the use of modern data analytics tools, such as text and data mining.

Read more about the 10 priorities for Europe’s digital future and join the debate.