The European Commission will launch a pilot project this summer designed to test ethical guidelines it has developed for the use of artificial intelligence. Companies, public agencies, and other organizations can now join the European AI Alliance which will officially notify members when the pilot starts. "The ethical dimension of AI is not a luxury feature or an add-on," said Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip in a statement. "It is only with trust that our society can fully benefit from technologies. Ethical AI is a win-win proposition that can become a competitive advantage for Europe: being a leader of human-centric AI that people can trust."
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Companies working with artificial intelligence need to install accountability mechanisms to prevent its being misused, the European Commission said on Monday, under new ethical guidelines for a technology open to abuse. AI projects should be transparent, have human oversight and secure and reliable algorithms, and they must be subject to privacy and data protection rules, the commission said, among other recommendations. The European Union initiative taps in to a global debate about when or whether companies should put ethical concerns before business interests, and how tough a line regulators can afford to take on new projects without risking killing off innovation. "The ethical dimension of AI is not a luxury feature or an add-on. It is only with trust that our society can fully benefit from technologies," the Commission digital chief, Andrus Ansip, said in a statement.
Germany is working on implementing a handful of new rules for autonomous cars that address ethical questions that come with the technology. In June, the ethics commission of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure -- made up of 14 scientists and legal experts -- released a report with guidelines it believed self-driving vehicles should be designed to follow. This week, the ministry said it would implement and enforce those guidelines. One of the proposed rules says that human life should always have priority over property or animal life and another stipulates that a surveillance system, like a black box, should record the activity so that it can be determined later on who was at fault during an accident -- the driver or the technology. Additionally, drivers should get to decide what personal information is collected from their vehicle, so that data can't be used to customize advertising, for example.
Google is set to publish ethical guidelines for its use of artificial intelligence this week, after its decision not to renew a drone contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. According to Financial Times, the internet search company is widely regarded as having the most advanced AI. In fact, the Pentagon has been using Google's vision technology to help drones interpret objects on the ground. That relationship with the government resulted in fierce opposition inside the company, but it's not the only criticism Google has received regarding its use of AI. For example, the company's image search feature has come under fire for perpetuating preconceptions based on the data in Google's search index, such as a search for "CEOs" returning mostly white faces.