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Committee on AI says EU has 'fallen behind' in global tech leadership race


The EU needs to act as a'global standard-setter' in AI, according to a new report that also warned about the risks of mass surveillance. A new EU report says public debate on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) should focus on the technology's "enormous potential" to complement humans. The European Parliament's special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age adopted its final recommendations yesterday (22 March) after 18 months of inquiries. The committee's draft text notes that the world is on the verge of "the fourth industrial revolution" from an abundance of data combined with powerful algorithms. But it adds that that the EU has "fallen behind" in the global race for tech leadership, which poses a risk that tech standards could be developed in the future by "non-democratic actors".

SoftBank robot Pepper testifies before British Parliament

The Japan Times

LONDON – SoftBank Group Corp.'s Pepper humanoid robot testified on Tuesday at the Education Committee of Britain's House of Commons. It was the first time in the long history of the British Parliament, which has served as the world's standard-setter of the parliamentary system, for a nonhuman to present an opinion, people familiar with the matter said. Pepper answered questions during a committee session to discuss the fourth industrial revolution, which uses robots and other new technologies, and the development of education brought on by artificial intelligence. "Good morning, chair," Pepper started off by saying. "Thank you for inviting me to give evidence today," it proceeded.

Artificial intelligence: the EU needs to act as a global standard-setter


The adopted text says that the public debate on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) should focus on this technology's enormous potential to complement humans. The text warns that the EU has fallen behind in the global race for tech leadership. As a result, there is a risk that standards will be developed elsewhere in the future, often by non-democratic actors, while the EU needs to act as a global standard-setter in AI. MEPs identified policy options that could unlock AI's potential in health, the environment and climate change, to help combat pandemics and global hunger, as well as enhancing people's quality of life through personalised medicine. AI, if combined with the necessary support infrastructure, education and training, can increase capital and labour productivity, innovation, sustainable growth and job creation, they add.

EU moves to label nuclear and gas energy as 'green'

The Japan Times

Brussels – The EU is planning to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as "green" sources for investment despite internal disagreement over whether they truly qualify as sustainable options. The proposal, seen by AFP on Saturday, aims to support the 27-nation bloc's shift toward a carbon-neutral future and gild its credentials as a global standard-setter for fighting climate change. But the fact the European Commission quietly distributed the text to member states late Friday, in the final hours of 2021 after the much-delayed document had been twice promised earlier in the year, highlighted the rocky road to draft it. If a majority of member states back it, it will become EU law, coming into effect from 2023. France has led the charge for nuclear power -- its main energy source -- to be included, despite robust opposition from Austria and skepticism from Germany, which is in the process of shutting all its nuclear plants.

EU lawmakers adopt recommendations on Artificial Intelligence


Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA), a special committee set up in September 2020 to analyse the horizontal impact of Artificial Intelligence on society, has concluded with its own-initiative report, adopted on Tuesday (22 March). The AIDA report had a rocky start, as progressive political groups criticised conservative rapporteur Axel Voss for the report's overall narrative. It was seen as too focused on international competition, where the EU was inevitably falling behind. After significant redrafting, the report was adopted with a vast majority in the parliamentary committee while maintaining the original emphasis on the potential benefits of the emerging technology. "The EU now has the unique chance to promote a human-centric and trustworthy approach to AI based on fundamental rights that manages risks while taking full advantage of the benefits AI can bring for the whole of society – including in healthcare, sustainability, the labour market, competitiveness and security," Voss said.