The European Commission’s incoming President Ursula von der Leyen has called for the EU to draw up rules to regulate the use of artificial intelligence during her first 100 days in charge.
The German politician and her commission were coronated in the European Parliament today, winning 461 MEP votes in favour compared to 157 against.
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As part of her new agenda, the president-elect has promised “a coordinated European approach on the human and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence”.
Von der Leyen has also vowed to prioritise investments in AI, both through the Multiannual Financial Framework and through the increased use of public-private partnerships.
The pledge underlines Von der Leyen’s focus on technology, which has been one of her key priorities alongside a “European Green Deal” and moves to bolster much the bloc’s faltering economy.
In a speech to the European Parliament today, she said: “We must have mastery and ownership of key technologies in Europe. These include quantum computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and critical chip technologies.”
She added: “With the General Data Protection Regulation we set the pattern for the world. We have to do the same with artificial intelligence. Because in Europe we start with the human being. It is not about damming up the flow of data.”
The German politician is set to take control of the European Commission at the start of next month, replacing Jean Claude-Juncker.
“Beyond high level ethical principles, one-size-fits-all regulation sounds attractive but the complexity of different sectors will be difficult, if not impossible, to boil down into a single overarching law,” according to John Buyers, Head of AI and machine learning at Osborne Clarke.
He said: “Designing effective regulation is challenging – the GDPR, for example, is an uneasy bedfellow with AI, generating significant compliance issues.
“We would like to see real engagement with relevant stakeholders to drive sector-focussed debate on this issue before the EU commits to legislation.”