Today, a year after the adoption of my report on civil law rules on robotics, the European Commission has finally unveiled their plan for the Union on artificial intelligence.
During the past year, I have constantly reiterated my position on this topic which I see as the crucial challenge of our time. The EU has huge potential in robotics and AI: talented entrepreneurs, motivated research centres, a great consumer market. It is an important opportunity that we have to seize now. And by “now” I mean yesterday.
Indeed, the rest of the world is not waiting to be led by Europe. If we don’t decide how we want to shape our future, it is highly likely that China and the USA will decide for us, leaving the EU as simply a follower.
The EU has the duty to stay united and defend our values by taking the lead. By delaying its action, it has incentivised different Member States across Europe to adopt national legislation which has endangered our cohesion and risks fracturing the market.
The plan released today by the Commission is a step in the right direction, but is not enough. I’m delighted by the creation of the EU Alliance on AI gathering different stakeholders to monitor the development of these new technologies. I take it as the answer to our call to create a European agency on robotics.
I also very much welcome the decision of the Commission to follow our recommendation asking for a Charter on Ethics which is expected for next year.
The investment plan made to support our industry and economy in the field is positive. We do not have internet giants in the EU, so we need to find ways to catch up with the investment being made in other parts of the world.
The statements made by the Commission on the importance of the social aspects such as employment, education, and lifelong learning are correct. However, I am disappointed that they do not offer clearer proposals on this, only more expert panels and studies, not real action.
On liability we are disappointed that the Commission only proposes a working document and has not come forward with anything new. Although their words are nice, the time is right for legislation – to ensure the EU provides a protecting framework for consumers and legal certainty for companies.
We have been told that a legislative package will be presented next year, however we believe the EU needs to act now.
To conclude, I would say: good, but not enough!
Communication on AI: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-3362_en.htm
Report on civil law rules on robotics: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P8-TA-2017-0051&language=EN&ring=A8-2017-0005