Tech News: EU Commission comes up with strict policies to regulate the use of AI.
As governments around the world ponder how to regulate AI, the European Union is the first to plan legislation that would place strict limits on the technology. On Wednesday, the European Commission, the body’s executive arm, laid out a regulatory approach that provides for a four-tier system where AI software is classified into separate risk categories, with an appropriate level of regulation for each category.
At the top are systems that pose an “unacceptable” risk to people’s rights and safety. The EU would completely ban these types of algorithms under the Commission’s proposed legislation. An example of software that would fall under this category is any AI that would allow governments and corporations to apply social scoring systems.
Below that is a category for so-called high-risk AIs. This is the most comprehensive category, both in terms of the types of software it covers and the proposed restrictions. The Commission says these systems will be subject to strict regulation, which will include the dataset used to train them, what constitutes an appropriate level of human oversight, and how they transmit information to the end-user. This category also includes AIs related to law enforcement and all forms of remote biometric identification. Police would not be allowed to use the latter in public spaces, although the EU would make some exceptions for reasons of national security and the like.
Then there is a category for low-risk AIs, such as chatbots. The legislation requires these programs to mention that you are talking to an AI, so you can make an informed decision about whether to continue using them or not. Finally, there is a section for programs that pose minimal risk to humans. It says the “vast” majority of AI systems will fall under this category. Programs that fall under this category are, for example, spam filters. Here, the agency does not plan to impose regulation.
“AI is a means, not an end,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a statement. “Today’s proposals aim to strengthen Europe’s position as a global hub of excellence in AI from the lab to the market, ensure that AI in Europe respects our values and rules, and harness the potential of AI for industrial use. “
The EU will likely take years to discuss and implement the legislation. Companies that violate the rules could face fines of up to six percent of their global turnover. With GDPR, the EU already has one of the world’s strictest policies on data protection, and it is considering similar measures when it comes to content moderation and antitrust laws.