AI-Regulation (Buzzwords of European Affairs 5/8)

The newly elected European Parliament faces a challenging composition of factions and parties. Forming progressive majorities will be more difficult than before. Despite this, and for this very reason, now is the right moment to emphasize the unique strength of the European project. It's also crucial to address the pressing issues it must tackle to continue fulfilling its promise of peace and prosperity. With our small project ”Buzzwords in European Affairs” we would like to bring you closer topics which are currently making the rounds in Europe. What are the actual meanings of these often dropped terms? What are the issues behind, and why are they so important for Europe? And what are social democratic actors in Europe saying about them?

AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, including learning, reasoning, and problem-solving, to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. To ensure the ethical use, protect public safety, and prevent misuse or unintended consequences that could harm individuals or society, AI needs to be subject to comprehensive regulation. In this regard, the EU AI Act serves as a starting point by setting the first regulatory standards for AI technologies.

AI is already influencing our lives and will continue to influence it even more. Due to its potential to revolutionize economies and labor markets, as well as raising substantial ethical questions, AI is one of the most prominent topics on the European agenda. Bringing forward the AI Act, the EU will introduce the worldwide first substantial regulation of AI. However, given the immense implications of this technology, there will undoubtedly be a need for further regulation and responsive measures to address its consequences in the future.

Social Democrats have advocated for a strong regulation of AI in the EU. Social Democrats do not oppose the technology but want to ensure that AI benefits humans and not profits of big tech. Every new technology has to be assessed in order to prevent discrimination and other risk to fundamental rights. If it poses a substantial risk to fundamental rights, it has to be banned. Also, it has to be ensured that the technology is not used to exploit or surveillance workers. The AI-Act establishes first crucial safeguards to prevent these undesirable consequences and utilization options of AI, therefore marking a significant achievement for Social Democrats in the European Parliament. With this achievement in hand, the S&D must continue advocating for technology regulation that ensures the benefits of AI developments serve humanity as a whole, not just the shareholders of the AI industry.

You should read:

Angela Müller and Matthias Spielkamp, AI Act deal: Key safeguards and dangerous loophole, Statement from Algorithm Watch on the AI Act, 09/12/2023.

Bonn Juego, Tereza Østbø Kuldova and Gerard Rinse Oosterwijk, ALGORITHMS BY AND FOR THE WORKERS, FEPS and Nordic partners Digital Programme on Algorithms at the Workplace, 01/2024.

Veronica Nilsson, Avoiding an AI dystopia for workers, IPS Journal, 19/12/2023.

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