Ahead of anticipated legislative proposals from the European Commission, on 18 June 2020 the European Parliament set up a special committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) with the objective of analysing Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) impact on the EU economy. The Committee, chaired by Romanian MEP Dragoș Tudorache who sits with the liberal Renew faction in Parliament, had its constitutive meeting at the end of September and will hold its first working meetings during the week of 26-30 October.
Within AIDA’s ranks are three ITRE (Industry, research and energy) Committee members: Maria da Graça Carvalho, Pilar del Castillo Vera and Dan Nica; as well as former European Commission Vice President and former holder of the digital single market portfolio, Andrus Ansip. Axel Voss MEP, heavily involved in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) work on AI, will act as Rapporteur.
The AIDA Chair stated that he wanted the Committee to “be at the forefront of the debate in Europe on AI” and “build upon the excellent work Parliament has already done…to jointly develop a vision for Parliament”. The Committee will seek to assist in creating a harmonised legal and ethical framework to address the ethical, social and economic implications of AI, rather than dealing with specific legislative acts.
Mr Tudorache noted in a recent interview with Science Business that Europe is too “defeatist” on AI and highlighted issues such as a lack of investment and an AI talent shortage which Europe will need to address to bridge the gap to the US and China. According to Stanford University’s AI index report, the US and China make up around half of all private AI investment globally. As far as Europe goes, the UK has established the most significant presence on AI, however, the UK has now left the EU.
AIDA has a 12-month mandate to take a horizontal approach on AI in analysing its future impact on the EU economy focusing on education, e-government, employment, environment, health, industry, skills, third country approaches to AI and transport. AIDA will organise hearings and workshops with key stakeholders in order to achieve its objectives and will publish a report at the end of their mandate featuring findings and recommendations.
The next AIDI Special Committee meetings will take place on Monday 26 October 13:45 – 15:45 CET as well as Tuesday 27 October 13:45 – 15:45 CET and will be live streamed.
Next Monday, AIDA MEPs will exchange views with Thierry Breton (Commissioner for Internal Market on the EU data strategy) and the following day, they will discuss the Commission’s AI White Paper with Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President.