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Artificial Intelligence

European Commission Aims to Build AI Regulatory Systems Based on European Values

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Photo of Senior Policy Analyst Eline Chivot courtesy of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

July 15, 2020 — The European Commission is preparing to develop and adopt new policies regarding artificial intelligence, with the ultimate goal of becoming a global leader in innovation surrounding the data economy and its applications.

In a Wednesday webinar hosted by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation Center for Data Innovation, stakeholders and industry representatives joined moderator Eline Chivot, a senior policy analyst at the center, to discuss the policy options outlined in a recent Commission white paper on AI.

The white paper called for the European Union to define its own standards in order to promote the development and deployment of AI based on European values.

The Commission aims to introduce an AI ecosystem that brings the benefits of the technology to the entirety of European society by accounting for citizens, business and public interest. It plans to achieve this ecosystem of excellence and trust through a human-centric approach.

In regard to building an environment of trust, Irina Orssich, team leader for AI at the Commission’s Communications Networks, Content and Technology Department, argued that the first step is greater legislation. Very few critics of the white paper believe current legislation is sufficient.

Screenshot of panelists from the ITIF webinar

The General Data Protection Regulation, the last major EU legislation on data protection, was written from 2014 to 2016, before the major wave of AI took place globally.

“GDPR is still a rather new rule, but things have come up since it was written, and in that sense its getting old,” said Janne Elvelid, policy manager of EU affairs at Facebook.

Elvelid called for any new models developed by the Commission to align with GDPR, as there are already a few aspects of AI in the regulation. Facebook broadly welcomes the Commission’s proposal, he added.

Panelists agreed that there is an important balance between regulation and innovation that needs to be protected by the new laws.

Too much regulation could potentially hamper the very innovation that the Commission is aiming to foster.

The Commission should not regulate too much too soon, Elvelid said, as this could possibly reduce the benefits afforded by AI.

Kees van der Klauw, coalition manager of the Netherlands AI Coalition, referenced Amazon’s growth, arguing that when it comes to innovation, “it’s better to apologize afterwards then wait for permission.”

“We can have a clear framework that promotes innovation,” Orssich claimed, listing off Commission protocols that would support such an environment, such as offering controlled environments to test AI programs.

Orssich is one of many at the Commission currently in the process of reading through over 1,215 responses to the white paper.

Individuals can expect to see a report published on the preliminary results of these public comments in the next few days, she said.

After analyzing the public feedback, the Commission will release a legislative proposal on AI.

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Artificial Intelligence

CES 2022: Artificial Intelligence Needs to Resonate with People for Widespread Acceptance

Even though stakeholders may want technologies that yield better results, they may be uncomfortable with artificial intelligence.

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Pat Baird speaking at CES 2022

LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2022 – To get artificial intelligence into the mainstream, the industry needs to appease not just regulators, but stakeholders as well.

Pat Baird, regulatory head for software standards at electronics maker Philips, said at the Consumer Electronics Show Thursday that for AI technology to be successfully implemented in a field like medicine, everyone touched by it needs to be comfortable with it.

“A lot of people want to know more information, more information, more information before you dare use that [technology] on me one of the members of my family,” Baird said, “I totally get that, but it is interesting – some of the myths that we see in Hollywood compared to how the technology [actually functions],” adding to be successful you have to win the approval of all stakeholders, not just regulators.

“It is a fine line to take and walk,” Baird said. “I think we need to make sure that the lawmakers really understand the benefits and the risks about this – not all AI is the same. Not all applications are the same.”

Like accidents involving autonomous vehicles, rare accidents for AI can set the technology back years, Baird said. “One of the things that I worry about is when something bad happens that’s kind of reflected on the entire industry.”

Baird noted that many people come prepared with preconceived biases against AI that make them susceptible to skepticism or hesitancy that a technology is safe or will work.

But he did not go so far as to say these biases against AI are putting a “thumb on the scale” against AI, “but [that thumb] is floating near the scale right now.”

“That is one of the things that I’m worried about,” he said. “Because this technology can make a difference. I want to help my patients, damn it, and if this can only improve performance by a couple percent, that is important to that family that you just helped with that [technology].”

Joseph Murphy, vice president of marketing at AI company Sensory Inc., said, “Just like everything in life it’s a tricky balance of innovation, and then putting up the speed bumps to innovation. It’s a process that has to happen.”

On Wednesday, Sally Lange Witkowski, founder of business consulting firm Slang Consulting, said that companies should be educating consumers about the benefits of 5G for widespread adoption.

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Artificial Intelligence

Henry Kissinger: AI Will Prompt Consideration of What it Means to Be Human

Event with the former Secretary of State discusses our current lack of knowledge on how to responsibly harness AI’s power.

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

WASHINGTON, December 24, 2021 – Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says that further use of artificial intelligence will call into question what it means to be human, and that the technology cannot solve all those problems humans fail to address on their own.

Kissinger spoke at a Council on Foreign Relations event highlighting his new book “The Age of AI: And Our Human Future” on Monday along with co-author and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a conversation moderated by PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff.

Schmidt remarked throughout the event on unanswered questions about AI despite common use of the technology.

He emphasized that the computer systems may be able to solve complex problems, such as in physics dealing with dark matter or dark energy, but that the humans who built the technology may not be able to determine how exactly the computer solved the problems.

Along the lines of this potential for dangerous use of the technology, he stated how AI development, though sometimes a force for good, “plays” with human lives.

He pointed out that to deal with this great technological power, almost every country now has created a governmental to oversee the ethics of AI development.

Schmidt stated that western values must be the dominant values in AI platforms that influence everyday life such as ones that have key implications for democracy.

With all the consideration on how to make AI work so it is effective but also utilitarian, Kissinger noted how much human thinking must go into managing the “thinking” these machines do, and that “a mere technological edge is not in itself decisive” in terms of AI that can compete with adversaries such as China’s diplomatic technological might.

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Artificial Intelligence

Vaccine Makers Promote Use of Artificial Intelligence for Development

Artificial Intelligence assists in the development of vaccine research and trial testing, makers say.

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Najat Khan, Janssen’s research and development global head of strategy

WASHINGTON, December 15, 2021 – Artificial intelligence is helping accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Leaders in Janssen’s and Moderna’s research and development groups said Tuesday that AI will help drug makers create better, more effective vaccines for patients.

Speaking at Bloomberg’s Technology Summit on Tuesday, Najat Khan, Janssen’s research and development global head of strategy, said AI is speeding up the delivery of new vaccines for populations in need. (Janssen is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.)

“We use AI and machine learning to predict performance of clinical sites for potential [vaccine] trial sites,” Khan said. AI can help researchers target patients for trials to obtain more comprehensive data sets. Vaccine developers spend time, money, and resources finding patients to participate in clinical trials.

Khan said “only four percent” of eligible patients join a clinical trial. AI can help researchers focus their efforts to identify patients to participate, she said.

Outstanding concerns with AI

Despite AI’s usefulness in vaccine development, Khan said there is still a gap that exists between the information available in healthcare and what’s useful for AI. “There’s lots of data generated in health care, but it’s not connected,” Khan stated. “If it’s not connected, it’s fragmented.”

The problem, Khan said, is the varying systems health clinics use to input and store patients’ information. “Different systems across different clinics needs the same data,” Khan added. “I can go to two different clinics, each one year apart, and my data would be separate.”

On a large scale, mismatched datasets lead to “an over-index of patient information in some areas and an under-index in others,” she said.

For better innovation in treating and curing diseases, health providers need better ways to gather share data while complying with patient privacy concerns, Khan added.

One of health care providers’ challenges is effective data minimization and ensuring that health entities only use patient data according to the patient’s consent over the use of their data. The industry is starting to see progress with tokenization, Khan said, which anonymizes data and links with other data sources for a specific patient-focused purpose.

“This allows us to do even more with AI,” Khan said.

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