Following the European Commission’s recent communication on its Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy, the Commission has appointed a High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLG) consisting of 52 experts from a range of disciplines, including machine learning academics, a philosophy and ethics professor, a director of engineering, and computer programmers (a full list can be found here). The AI HLG will interact with members of the AI Alliance in a forum setting. The AI Alliance provides a platform for anyone who is interested to “become a member to address all aspects of AI in discussions, blogs, documents and events.”

It will:

  • provide recommendations on policy developments to the Commission to address mid to long-term challenges and opportunities presented by AI, including recommendations on the legislative framework within which AI operates;
  • draft AI ethics guidelines, covering issues ranging from the socioeconomic implications of AI, to safety, consumer protection and fairness; and
  • support the Commission in its engagement with a broader set of stakeholders (such as product manufacturers) in the context of the AI Alliance, share information and gather their input on the group’s and the Commission’s work.

Given the central importance of safety considerations to both consumer welfare and the popular perception of AI technology, we would expect recommendations in relation to safety to rank highly on the AI HLG’s list of priorities. The AI HLG will also address such ethical questions as: how can the safety of AI be guaranteed when it is designed to continuously learn and modify its own behaviour? Defining the ethical parameters within which products that rely on AI are to be developed will help answer this question. The AI HLG is scheduled to finalise its ethics guidance by the end of 2018, and present its findings to the Commission at the beginning of 2019.

With its deep industry knowledge and breadth of industry contacts, the AI HLG will seek to ensure that the Commission achieves its aim of making the EU a world-leader in the development of AI technology. It will therefore have a crucial role to play in encouraging dialogue and transparency in a competitive market.

We will be keeping a close eye on the work of the AI HLG, which is due to finalise its ethics guidance by the end of 2018 and present its findings to the Commission at the beginning of 2019, so watch this space for updates.

The Commission’s official announcement can be found here:

Posted by dfmillard