Artificial Intelligence – AGE replies to the consultation on ethical guidelines


“AI is a catch-all term for a large number of fields such as: cognitive computing (algorithms that reason and understand at a higher level), machine learning (algorithms that can teach themselves tasks), augmented intelligence (cooperation between human and machine) and AI robotics (AI imbedded in robots). The central aim of AI research and development is to automate intelligent behaviour such as reasoning, the gathering of information, planning, learning, communicating, manipulating, detecting and even creating, dreaming and perceiving”
. (EESC own opinion report – 31 May 2017).

AI holds both huge potential and challenges

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It can bring solutions to many societal challenges from treating diseases to minimising the environmental impact of farming. However, AI also raises socio-economic, legal and ethical issues that have to be carefully addressed. This is why the European Commission has appointed 52 experts to a new High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG), comprising representatives from academia, civil society, as well as industry. This group has as a general objective to support the implementation of the European strategy on Artificial Intelligence, including the drafting of recommendations on future-related policy development and on ethical, legal and societal issues related to AI and its socio-economic challenges.

AGE contribution towards common EU ethical guidelines

In late December 2018, the AI HLEG proposed the first draft AI ethics guidelines to the Commission, covering issues such as fairness, safety, transparency, the future of work, democracy and more broadly the impact on the application of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, including privacy and personal data protection, dignity, consumer protection and non-discrimination. The Guidelines were open for consultation, to which AGE submitted a contribution. In our response, we praise the approach adopted by the AI HLEG while reminding key concerns in relation to ageing such as the age bias of algorythms which are not really reflecting the complexity of the society or the complex question of robots in care settings.

UN Independent Expert This contribution was also the opportunity to link up with the report released in 2017 by the UN Independent Expert on the rights of older people on robots and assistive technologies which is a key piece of work to better understand the impact of the technological development on the human rights of older persons. Read here our article on this report

This work will also feed a paper AGE is currently developing on ethical issues in the context of health technologies as well as the contribution that AGE is making in research project where Artificial Intelligence is used (E.g. i-Prognosis and Frailsafe).

Contact person: Julia Wadoux,

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