Monday

25th Jan 2021

AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend

  • The EU’s regulatory framework for artificial intelligence should make it possible for consumers to seek human review when mistakes appear as a result of automated decisions (Photo: Ars Electronica/Vanessa Graf)

Developments in artificial intelligence and automated decision-making by computer algorithms should always require human oversight, according to the European Parliament's internal market committee (IMCO) on Thursday (23 January), which passed a draft resolution aimed at ensuring humans remain in control of the technology.

Automated decision-making systems (ADMs) - technical systems that replace human decision making - are being used by public and private entities for tasks from recruiting to predictive policing, and are most widely-used in the US.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

However, according to the resolution, "humans must always be ultimately responsible for, and able to overrule, decisions" that are taken by new technologies, especially in medical, legal and accounting professions.

For the banking sector, the committee calls for a regulatory framework that ensures independent supervision of automated decision-making systems by qualified professionals in cases where the public interest is at stake.

This framework should also make it possible for consumers to seek human review when mistakes appear as a result of using this type of new technologies.

Likewise, automated decision-making systems should only use high-quality and unbiased data sets and "explainable and unbiased algorithms" to guarantee trust and acceptance, the resolution states.

"We have to make sure that consumer protection and trust is ensured and that the data sets used in automated decision-making systems are of high-quality and are unbiased," said Belgian MEP Petra De Sutter (Greens/EFA), who chairs the IMCO committee.

Following the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regarding explainability, MEPs also stressed that consumers should be "properly informed about how [this technology] functions, about how to reach a human with decision-making powers, and about how the system's decisions can be checked and corrected".

However, explaining in layman's terms the results and functionalities of large and complex technical models might be problematic.

This resolution, which was initiated by Green MEP Alexandra Geese, marks the parliament's first official position on the safeguards needed for the deployment and implementation of ADMs.

"All algorithmic systems must be checked for their legality and neutrality according to a risk model. If a discriminatory bias cannot be remedied, such fundamental rights-violating systems must not be used in Europe," Geese wrote for the German newspaper Tagesspiegel.

Additionally, MEPs called on the European Commission to ensure that the EU's rules on safety and liability for products and services are fit for purpose in the digital age - what it is already part of the commission's white paper for AI.

The text approved by the committee will be voted on the next plenary session by all MEPs, ahead of the commission's announcement for a European approach to AI expected on 19 February.

Magazine

The challenge of artificial intelligence

The fast-growing impact of artificial intelligence will be the biggest challenge for business and consumers in Europe's single market of tomorrow.

EU warned over fast-tracking facial recognition

A new report of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights calls for "a clear legal framework" to regulate facial recognition technologies, saying that collecting facial images of individuals without their consent can harm people's dignity.

Opinion

Why EU will find it difficult to legislate on AI

The private sector, governments, academia, and civil society have all been calling for ethical guidelines in AI development - but these discussions remain vague, open to interpretation, non-universal, and most importantly, unenforceable.

Analysis

EU plan on AI: new rules, better taxes

The bloc wants to become a global leader in innovation in the data economy and AI. However, proportional legislation, better data-availability and huge invesment will be needed across the EU to compete with China and the US.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia to get first woman prime minister
  2. Turkey and Greece to hold Mediterranean security talks
  3. Dutch police detain 240 in anti-lockdown protests
  4. Renewables overtake fossil fuels in EU electricity mix
  5. France's top scientist warns of corona 'emergency'
  6. Growing appetite for Northern Ireland independence
  7. Surge in support for Portuguese far-right party
  8. German far-right party sues to avoid stigma

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  2. Why Russia politics threaten European security
  3. MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'
  4. Reality bites EU's 'No More Morias' pledge
  5. Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity
  6. Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK
  7. Will EU ever take action to stop Israeli settlements?
  8. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us