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March 2020

AI in the EU - ambitious about potential & rational about risks

The Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – a European approach to excellence and trust - shows that the European Commission wants the EU to play a leading role in AI by developing an AI ecosystem which benefits society and the economy. EUnited wholeheartedly supports this objective.

Whilst the Commission believes that AI has the potential to disrupt safety and liability frameworks, it correctly points out that new legal requirements should be limited to what it calls high-risk applications. Indeed, the final detailed criteria for establishing what high-risk applications are will be crucial for ensuring a proportional regulatory intervention.

EUnited strongly believes that machines equipped with AI applications - such as predictive maintenance or vastly improved automated separation of recyclables - are no more dangerous than the same machines without AI. They may even be safer. Indeed, all machines - whether equipped with AI or not - must meet the same safety requirements.

“Distinguishing between “high-risk” AI and other AI equipped products and systems is a sensible approach to ensure human safety and dignity when only a few AI applications are truly contentious. However, it is essential that, for the rest, lawmakers understand the need to leave room for innovation, and allow existing and well-performing legal frameworks to continue to protect citizens. The first signs from the Commission are very encouraging in this regard” said Jethro Schiansky, Executive Director of EUnited.

By investing in AI, Europe’s machinery and equipment suppliers can make significant contributions to Europe’s Green and Digital transformation. Therefore, it is vital that any regulation in this area is clear, avoids any legal uncertainty and leaves room for innovation in companies of all sizes.

EUnited - European Engineering Industries Association,
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