- Lara-Joyce Käser
Unanimous resolution, can it be sufficient?
The Council of the European Union was the first committee to vote on their resolution draft of the first topic: the future of AI in the European Union. As predicted this topic only held smaller contradictions.
In the debates it became clear that ethics regarding artificial intelligence was a crucial aspect for every delegate. Therefore, the first clause tries to take control of that. Although securing ethical standards EU-wide seemed to be a matter of personal importance to everybody, the contractual commitment is not really tight. Surprisingly, the resolution passed with 17 votes in favor out of 17 delegates. Before, especially the aspect of how legally binding the resolution should be, concluded in two divided groups among the delegates. Poland – the probably strongest opponent to a new EU body coherently regulating the member states – even became a signatory at the end. This can be explained by subclause 1f, the resolution only encourages the member states to enact the ethical code, but the details are “enforceable by the discretion of the responsible Member States authorities” (Resolution 1, 1f). By giving up on binding regulations to secure fundamental rights for every European citizen, the draft received unanimous approval. It is debatable whether this trade-off is satisfactory.
Moreover, a call for transparency and improvement of digital skills should make the application of AI systems safer as the users will be more educated. This seems to be a splendid approach to integrate the use of AI in our daily lives and to acquaint people to it, as artificial intelligence will play a major role in our future. Nevertheless, the measures do not guarantee to create further acceptance of algorithms determining our daily lives and machines replacing human workforces and even outmatching human capabilities.
As the economical aspect of Artificial Intelligence is a tremendous advantage of fostering the use of AI and expanding research on it, it takes another major part in the resolution.
The resolution invokes to elaborate cooperation between the member states and private actors across the EU and to improve funding in order to invest in the benefits of AI and to establish an epicenter of AI in Europe. However, the prospect of possible job losses due to artificial intelligence was kind of neglected during the debate. It remains unclear how the European Union wants to handle this structural change.