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Oscar Williams

News editor

The European Commission is going to investigate the ethics of AI

The European Commission is launching an expert group to draw up proposals for guidelines on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

The group will be tasked with assessing the benefits of AI and its potential impact on the future of work, and making recommendations for policies and legislation.

Andrus Ansip, commission vice-president for the digital single market, said a broad public discussion about the ethical principles of AI would be key to the successful deployment of the technology.

“Step by step, we are setting up the right environment for Europe to make the most of what artificial intelligence can offer,” he said. “Data, supercomputers and bold investment are essential for developing artificial intelligence, along with a broad public discussion combined with the respect of ethical principles for its take-up.”

The group will also advise the commission on building a broad community of stakeholders in a “European AI Alliance” and supporting the implementation of the European initiative on AI.

By the end of the year, members of the group will be expected to have drafted guidelines for the ethical development of AI, with a focus on fairness, transparency, the future of work, democracy and how the technology affects the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“Artificial intelligence has developed rapidly from a digital technology for insiders to a very dynamic key enabling technology with market creating potential,” said Carlos Medos, the commissioner for research, science and innovation. “And yet, how do we back these technological changes with a firm ethical position?”

Prospective members have until 9 April to apply for membership of the group.