What the EU’s “Lawful” AI Focus Tells Us about the Future of Regulation

Reading the EU's AI Ethics guidance tea leaves to assess the future of AI regulations in Europe

The winds of regulatory oversight for artificial intelligence are blowing in the U.S. and Europe. The European Commission signed off on its Ethical Guidelines for Trustworthy AI earlier this month, the culmination of several months of deliberations by a select group of “high-level experts” plucked from industry, academia,  research and government circles. In the advisory realm, the EU guidance joins forthcoming draft guidance on AI from a global body, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Meanwhile, U.S. federal lawmakers want something on the books. A new bill proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., would require large corporations to subject their algorithmic systems to automated decision system and data protection impact assessments. And, in February, U.S. representatives proposed their own guidelines for ethical AI in a House Resolution.

The EU guidelines emphasize “lawful” AI, which seems to be an important distinction from an earlier draft. Why? For IAPP’s Privacy Tech, RedTail’s Kate Kaye asked sources — including one of those “high-level experts” — what “lawful” AI means when it comes to the future of EU regulation for AI.


About Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia journalist who has chronicled the evolution of digital media, data use and technology in her reporting for more than 20 years for outlets including Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, OneZero, CityLab, NPR and Advertising Age. One of the first journalists to track how political organizations use voter data and digital advertising (as early as 2002), she is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a 2009 book covering the digital targeting efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns.

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