Calling for an ethical and efficient EU policy framework on Artificial Intelligence

Resolution submitted by: JEF Political Commission 2 – Internal European Policy
Adopted by the JEF Congress in Paris on 26 October 2019

Artificial intelligence (hereafter AI) can be defined as any machine or algorithm that is capable of observing its environment, learning, and based on the knowledge and experience gained, take intelligent actions or propose decisions . Many applications of AI, such as facial recognition, speech recognition and translation, self-driving cars, medical diagnostics and conversational interfaces, already appear in our everyday lives, or will soon become commonplace. The aim of this resolution is to encourage the European institutions together with the Member States to set up guidelines on AI and to ensure that technological development involving AI would uphold EU values, minding its influence on the public sphere, even if it is driven by private companies.

JEF Europe,

  • Believing in the potential of these new technologies to transform lives and work practices in Europe, by advancing economic growth and increasing efficiency of and benefits such as production industry, commerce, transport, farming, health care, medical care, and education;
  • Believing that the EU has the opportunity to have a leadership role in defining standard and value for the digital transformation finding a third way of regulating AI in a human-centric way based on ethics and fundamental rights and distinct from authoritarian Chinese model and US laissez-faire;
  • Aware of the impact of AI on all parts of society and all sectors of economy that carries huge promises to help solve societal challenges but also comes with risks of disruption that we should address and mitigate;
  • Aware that in terms of GDP growth, estimates show that deploying the necessary key technology across Europe would lead to a +1.1% EU GDP/year average growth – a cumulative impact of +14.1% GDP (2.3 Trillion € in real terms) by 2030;
  • Concerned about the lack of accountability of Machine Learning (ML)[1] algorithms which application resulted in some cases in bias regarding race or gender for instance, especially regarding the growing importance of Big Data;
  • Looking with favour to the fact that in March 2018, the European Commission set up a High Level Group on Artificial Intelligence with experts and stakeholders, which published the document “Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence” in order to establish n AI ethical framework that benefits European society and upholds EU values, and Policy And Investment Recommendations for trustworthy AI;
  • Noting however that the existing European legislation and policies are either insufficient or just not applicable to Robotic Process Automation RPA and artificial intelligence;
  • Concerned about the existing legal vacuum in liability and responsibility for malfunction, clear ethical framework, harmful action, omission or other damages caused by AI in the European legal framework;
  • Concerned that the challenges raised by AI don’t only concern privacy but also significant risks to fundamental rights;
  • Concerned about the lack of clarity and the fragmentation of laws across the Member States that would jeopardise the development of AI goods and services across the Single Market;
  • Welcomes the European institutions’ effort to support small and medium size businesses in the field of AI and robotics both structurally and financially;
  • Welcomes the implementation of a coordinated plan for AI developed by the European Commission with Member States;
  • Aware that any regulation, if limited to the EU only, would have a limited effectiveness overall since the global development of AI and ML would anyway proceed worldwide, and therefore a global approach would be needed;
  • Draws attention to the need of public policy to support that everyone can benefit from AI and big data innovations, for example in the field of education or to foster inclusion;

JEF Europe therefore,

  1. Calls for the establishment of common and clear legal definitions in the domain of AI and its training and the need for European institutions and Member States to enact liability regulation, without restraining innovation in Europe;
  2. Calls on the European institutions to increase the funding of the Digital Europe Programme with a focus on trustworthy AI focused on priority industry areas and to strengthen the European research network on AI, to be able to compete at a global level;
  3. Calls on the EU to build partnerships and developing key infrastructures for large scale testing of AI solutions. Secure key industrial value chains on which AI is built and stimulate the uptake of trusted AI solutions across all sectors of the economy;
  4. Calls on EU institutions to establish an appropriate ethical legal framework for AI based on European values, including but not limited to explainability, accountability, fairness, reliability, robustness and safety, transparency of AI s data, algorithms and mechanisms;
  5. Calls on the establishment of complementary initiatives – additionally to regulatory measure on AI and ethics – such as certification and codes of conducts in any AI-powered systems; with benefits for the companies acting, on a voluntary basis, in compliance with them;
  6. Calls for the promotion of a regulatory framework, such as fair data, enabling the use and sharing of data for non-profit and scientific purposes. Such framework would focus on increasing the quality and availability of non-personal data;
  7. Emphasises the need to raise awareness of AI among the general public and implementing these topics in all levels of education and through lifelong learning to create a general understanding about what AI is, how it works, and the possible dangers linked to AI as well as to  develop advanced digital skills;
  8. Demands further investment in social funds or economic measures to mitigate the effects of automatisation in affected sectors e.g. in retraining of people that see their field of work displaced by rapid technical advancement;
  9. Calls on the EU Institutions to mainstream sustainability in the development of AI technology to ensure that it contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals;
  10. Endorses the establishment of a European body for implementation and further development of AI for large-scale public projects recognizing the success of scientific institutions (e.g. European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) supported by the EC;
  11. Further calls on the EU institutions to continue cooperating with the private sector active in the development of the AI to ensure that they benefit European society and develop a strong AI manufacture including better access to high value data, computing power and connectivity;
  12. Further calls on the establishment of an European ecosystems on AI to encourage European companies clusters ensuring digital autonomy and European leadership in the digital transformation;
  13. Urges European institutions to encourage public and private actors to share open data in the framework of GDPR to foster research and development within the EU;
  14. Urges the EU to develop a framework on AI that ensure to be adaptive to respond to future emerging challenges;
  15. Urges the EU to work on parallel on the establishment of a global ethical framework regarding AI/ML training data, their development and their final usage.

— Read the resolution —

[1] For the purpose of this resolution, machine learning is defined as an application of artificial intelligence that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed;