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EU seeks global standards for AI, civil rights groups fret According to Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The European Union flag is fluttering outside the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Wednesday announced tough draft rules on the use of artificial intelligence, including a ban on most surveillance activities, aimed at establishing the global standard for a key technology dominated by China and the United States.

However, civil rights groups warn that loopholes in the proposal, foreseen heavy fines for breaches and impose strict protections for high-risk applications, have Leave room for oppressive governments’ abuse of technology.

China is leading the way in the AI ​​race, while the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of internet-connected algorithms and utilities in everyday life.

European chief technology officer Margrethe Vestager said: “On artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a good thing. With these landmark rules, the EU is leading the development of new global standards to ensure AI can be trusted “.

The committee said AI apps allowing the government to score socially or exploit children would be banned.

High-risk AI applications used in recruiting, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration, and law enforcement will be subject to stringent protections.

Companies violating the rules will be fined up to 6% of global sales or 30 million euros ($ 36 million), whichever is higher.

European industry director Thierry Breton says the rules are meant to clear up myths and misconceptions about AI.

“Behind the term artificial intelligence, there are common beliefs and fears that the film industry has long conveyed,” Breton said in a press conference.

“Such a small robot (Walt Disney (NYSE 🙂 cartoon character) WALL-E is sorry to make us forget the T-800 (robot) in Terminator. Hence, we have to navigate between all of this and not discriminate against technology, “he said.

The CCIA technology lobby group says rules shouldn’t create as many red bands for companies and users.

“AI will be key to Europe’s economic recovery and future competitiveness. However, regulation alone will not make the EU a leader in AI,” CCIA Vice President Christian Borggreen said.

Europe’s Digital Rights pointed to worrying gaps in this proposal.

“The bill does not ban all unacceptable use of AI and in particular all forms of biometric mass monitoring,” said Sarah Chander at the lobbying group.

The Greens party lawmaker in the European Parliament Patrick Breyer was also furious with the proposal.

“Technology that monitors biometrics and monitors massively, profiling and predicting behavior in our public spaces undermines our freedoms and threatens open societies,” he said. The proposed procedural requirements are just a smoke screen. “

The Commission will have to inform the EU national governments and the European Parliament in detail before the rules go into effect.

That could take years marked by intense lobbying from companies and even, says Patrick Van Eecke, partner and head of the European network practice at the law firm Cooley. both foreign government.

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