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AI With An Ethic: European Experts Release Draft Guidelines

By hook or by crook, Europe needs to differentiate itself, in its approach to artificial intelligence, from mighty competitors such as the U.S. and China. To be fair, competitors might not be the right word given that, for the time being at least, there’s no real competition.

According to some of the latest data available, AI investment in Europe totaled $3 to $4 billion in 2016, compared with $8 to $12 billion in Asia and $15 to $23 billion in North America.

Hoping to close the financial gap in the next decade, the EU Commission is for now marketing itself as promoter of a different kind of AI, a ‘trustworthy AI”, dubbed as a technology which respects fundamental rights and ethical rules. A major breakthrough, or just a PR stunt? Probably none of the two, rather the arduous search for a balanced approach.

There’s much to be said in favor of AI’s future impact on society – and against it. AI for instance, could make cancer treatment less toxic, help machines take over  dangerous and dirty jobs and researchers sift through online ads to identify possible victims of human trafficking. On the other hand, coupled with facial recognition, it could also boost citizens’ surveillance worldwide, endanger human rights, power killer robots that can select and destroy targets without human intervention.

To steer the change in the right direction, maximizing the benefits while minimizing the risks, the High-Level Expert Group on AI appointed in April by the European Commission, which consists of 52 independent experts representing academia, industry, and civil society, released last Tuesday the first draft of its Ethics Guidelines for the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI). – Forbes

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