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Brussels wants to supervise the development of artificial intelligence


Whether it is facial recognition or autonomous vehicles, the Twenty-Seven want to regulate uses in order to reassure European citizens.

Autonomous vehicles or facial recognition, artificial intelligence systems fascinate as much as they worry.

Brussels is due to unveil a draft regulation on Wednesday April 21 in the afternoon to take the lead in this industrial revolution, while reassuring Europeans.

Read also: Artificial intelligence: what will the stores of tomorrow look like?

“Whether it's precision agriculture, more reliable medical diagnostics or safe autonomous driving, artificial intelligence will open up new worlds for us. But these worlds also need rules ”

, declared in September the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in her speech on the State of the Union. The European executive, which has made digital technology a priority, intends to honor the President's promise to place

“people at the center”

of her legislative project.

Brussels is convinced that artificial intelligence, and its software and data-based automation techniques, can only develop by allaying the fears of Europeans.

The EU has missed the consumer Internet revolution and has no champion equivalent to the five American giants Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, the famous Gafams, or their Chinese equivalents Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi.

But nothing is lost concerning the revolution caused by the massive irruption of information technology in industries where Europe excels such as transport, agriculture or medical.

Prohibited citizen rating systems

The draft regulation, which AFP was able to consult, plans to ban a limited number of uses that threaten fundamental rights. Systems of

“generalized surveillance”

of the population, those

“used to manipulate the behavior, opinions or decisions”

of citizens will

be prohibited

. Derogatory authorizations are however provided for the fight against terrorism and public security. Military applications are not affected.

Fears are fueled both by failed technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, and the possibilities of population control offered to authoritarian regimes.

Citizen rating systems, such as those used in China, will be prohibited in Europe in particular.

The text provides for the introduction of tests of conformity with European standards for applications deemed

"high risk"

before their arrival on the market.

These requirements will be in addition to the already existing rules on product safety.

Read also: When artificial intelligence enters our lives 24 hours a day

The project, which will be jointly presented by the Commissioners for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and Internal Market, Thierry Breton, draws up a precise list of these sensitive applications. A first category, including

“remote biometric identification of people in public places”


“security elements in essential public infrastructures”

will be subject to compliance tests carried out by a third-party authority.

A second category includes in particular the systems for prioritizing emergency services, the tools used for recruitment, to determine access to educational institutions, or to assess the solvency of people.

Their compliance will be guaranteed by a self-assessment conducted by the company, under the control of a supervisory authority.

The other uses, considered to be safe, will hardly be imposed any additional regulatory constraints.

Heavy fines are foreseen for companies in breach.

Read also: Robots and artificial intelligence are essential in our daily life

For Alexandre de Streel, co-director of the Center on Regulation in Europe (Cerre) think tank, there is a difficult balance to be struck between protection and innovation. The framework set is

"relatively open and everything will depend on the way in which it will be interpreted"

by the courts, believes the expert, fearing that the research efforts of SMEs will be slowing down. In any case, technology companies welcome the use case analysis favored by Brussels.

“The European Union pursues a risk-based approach to regulate artificial intelligence. It would be a wise and strategic approach ”

, estimates Christian Borggreen, vice-president of the CCIA, one of the lobbies of the digital sector.

But for some, the regulation does not go far enough.

“It still allows some problematic uses, such as mass biometric surveillance. The EU must take a firmer position (...) and ban indiscriminate surveillance of the population without authorizing exceptions, ”

said Orsolya Reich of the NGO Liberties. The new legislation will still be debated for months, in particular with the European Parliament and the 27 Member States, before the implementation of a final text.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-04-21

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