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AI is on the way… and standardisers are after it!

Posted in News

Unless some have left their cave only very recently, most of you must have noticed that Artificial Intelligence (the trendy “AI”) has hit the headlines of most European newspapers, corporate events and other opinion leader blog posts over the past few months.

The source of this sudden sprouting was the publication on April 25, 2018 of the European Commission Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe. The strategy is structured around three pillars:

1. Increasing investment to boost capacity for AI uptake,
2. Preparing for socioeconomic changes including on the job market,
3. Ensuring an appropriate ethical and legal framework.

On June 20, 2018 in a POLITICO debate on AI in healthcare [1], Roberto Viola, Director General of European Commission DG CONNECT said:

“We will not rush in regulating every move in AI. But I think we need to think very deeply into this (…), come with an analysis and then decide.”

And the discussions have only increased… AI was heavily discussed at the Multistakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation where the Commission stressed the role that standards could play in materialising the ‘ethical’ pillar of the European AI strategy.

But what does AI have to do with ageing? In a time where we’re all getting older but not necessarily healthier, with co-morbidity becoming more and more common, AI offers opportunities to achieve preventive, predictable and personalised medicine.

The challenge remains to channel innovations in such a way that technology delivers its benefits without compromising people’s integrity, freedom and privacy [2]. When it comes to technology which – by definition – is capable of complexifying itself, how are standards going to uphold principles such as safety, transparency, comprehensibility, accountability and ethical responsibility of AI?

More than ever before, the latitude left to AI systems to make decisions over society and the conditions in which these decisions will be made must take place in a frame designed by all groups potentially affected by these decisions. This essentially means all citizens, regardless of; age, ability, gender, ethnicity, place of living or level of income. This means all of us.

In standardisation, just as in other policy arenas where AI will be discussed, citizens must be in command to ensure that AI remains compatible with fundamental human rights. The discussion is only starting…

[1] www.politico.eu/event/outside-in-artificial-intelligence-the-next-frontier-in-health-care
[2] www.project-sherpa.eu

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