On 18 June 2020, the European Parliament’s members decided with a broad majority to set up a new Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (with the beautifully musical acronym AIDA), for a duration of initially twelve months (extendable once by six months), and with 33 members.

After a series of own-initiative reports in several standing parliamentary committees on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past years, members felt it was high time for the European Parliament to address this important topic horizontally and with a long-term perspective, building upon, yet going beyond the sectoral approaches taken in the standing committees.

The new AIDA committee has a broad mandate and shall take a horizontal approach on AI, analysing its future impact on the EU economy, focusing on skills, employment, education, health, transport, environment, industry, e-government, and third-country approaches to AI.

To achieve its objectives, the committee will organise hearings and workshops with stakeholders, experts, policy-makers, and the business community.

At the end of our mandate, the committee shall submit a report with its findings and recommendations.

At the committee’s constitutive meeting on 23 September, AIDA Members elected Romanian liberal, Dragoş Tudorache, as AIDA Chair; later German EPP member, Axel Voss, was appointed rapporteur.

AIDA’s committee work kicked off with hearings with Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, the OECD, the German Presidency and the German Bundestag’s AI Special Committee.

Commissioner Vestager debated the AI White Paper and the upcoming legislative proposals with AIDA Members, expected in the first quarter of 2021. She encouraged the committee to look at AI from ’a 2030 angle’. Commissioner Breton highlighted that Europe is not lagging behind the US and China in the industrial ICT domain. He stressed that there is a need to regulate data sets used for AI purposes considering that some of them will be used for a very long period of time by smart and self-learning applications. He pointed out especially that a clear regulatory distinction is needed between “personal data” and “industrial data” for AI purposes.

The OECD’s Director for Science, Technology and Innovation, Andrew Wyckoff, and Deputy Director, Dirk Pilat presented the OECD’s extensive work on AI. To illustrate this, the OECD speakers presented Members with an online repository of over 300 AI policy initiatives

German Green MP Anna Christmann, who represented the Bundestag AI Special committee AI– Social Responsibility and Economic, Social and Ecological Potential, presented the findings of its final report, covering numerous sectoral applications of AI. A summary in English of the 800-page report is available under the AIDA meeting documents.

AIDA will now start its thematic hearings, starting with AI & health on 2 December (which Members identified as particularly topical in the current context). This shall be followed by further hearings in the coming months, such as on AI & the EU Green Deal, AI’s external dimension (AI diplomacy and security & defence), AI & competitiveness, and AI & labour markets.

The rapporteur may, depending on the decision on the extension of AIDA’s mandate, present a draft working document for his draft report around spring or summer 2021.

If you are interested in following the AIDA committee’s work, please visit the AIDA committee website, subscribe to the AIDA newsletter or contact the AIDA secretariat.

Marcus Scheuren, a German and British national, heads the committee secretariat of the European Parliament’s recently created Special Committee on Artifical Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA).

He has been working in the European Parliament since 2011, in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), the Special Committee on Tax Rulings (TAXE, in response to the LuxLeaks revelations), the Inquiry Committee on Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA; in response to the Panama Papers scandal), and most recently in the Industry, Research & Energy Committee (ITRE).

Before he worked in the EU’s Committee of the Regions, and in a British regionoal representative office to the EU. Marcus graduated in business administration at the University of Bayreuth/ Germany, and at the EDHEC Business School (École des hautes études commerciales) in Nice, France.