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Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a disruptive technology in recent years, with the potential to transform almost every aspect of our lives. While AI holds enormous promise, it also raises significant economic and ethical concerns. The European Union (EU) has been actively working to establish a framework for the responsible development and deployment of AI. The EU’s approach to AI is guided by its commitment to uphold its fundamental values, including respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
The EU has recognized that the development of AI requires a collaborative effort between policymakers, industry, and society at large. Therefore, the EU has taken a multi-stakeholder approach to the regulation of AI, seeking to balance the economic benefits of AI with the need to protect citizens and their fundamental rights.
One of the key challenges that the EU faces in regulating AI is the economic costs associated with its development and deployment. AI requires significant investments in research and development, as well as in the infrastructure and resources necessary to deploy and scale AI systems. Additionally, AI raises concerns about job displacement, as automation and machine learning could replace human workers in many sectors. To address these concerns, the EU has taken a range of measures to support the development of AI while also mitigating its economic costs.
In 2018, the European Commission released a coordinated plan on AI, outlining its vision for a “human-centric” approach to AI development. The plan identified several key areas where the EU could take action to promote the responsible development and deployment of AI. One of the primary strategies identified in the EU’s plan is to increase investment in AI research and development. The EU has already committed €1.5 billion to the European AI Fund, which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of AI technologies across the EU.
This funding will support the development of cutting-edge AI technologies and provide training and resources to researchers and developers. In addition to funding, the EU is also working to establish a regulatory framework for AI that balances economic benefits with ethical concerns. In 2020, the European Commission released its AI White Paper, which outlined a regulatory framework for AI that prioritises transparency, accountability, and human oversight.
The European Skills Agenda, for example, aims to equip 70% of the EU’s adult population with basic digital skills by 2025. The EU is also supporting the development of AI-specific skills and training programs to help prepare its workforce for the jobs of the future. Despite these efforts, the economic costs of AI remain a concern for the EU. The potential for job displacement, in particular, has raised concerns about the impact of AI on the labor market. To address this concern, the EU is exploring the development of a “human-in-command” approach to AI, which would prioritise human oversight and decision-making in AI systems.
The EU recognizes that the development of AI requires a collaborative effort between policymakers, industry, and society at large, and it has taken a multi-stakeholder approach to the regulation of AI. While the economic costs of AI remain a concern, the EU is actively working to mitigate these costs through investment in research and development, the establishment of a regulatory framework, and the development of digital skills and education. Ultimately, the EU’s goal is to ensure that AI is developed and deployed in a responsible, ethical, and sustainable manner that benefits all of its citizens.
Written by: Nenad Stekić