Economic and ethical perspectives on the future of artificial intelligence in the EU

Summary of the ”Economic and ethical perspectives on the future of artificial intelligence in the European Union” conference organised on 21 June 2023 by Confrontations Europe and Renaissance NumĂ©rique in partnership with Microsoft France.

On Wednesday 21 June, think tanks Confrontations Europe and Renaissance Numérique,
in partnership with Microsoft France, organised a conference at the Maison de l’Europe
in Paris, entitled “Economic and ethical perspectives on the future of artificial intelligence
in the European Union”. The first round table, aimed at examining the impact of the increasing
use of artificial intelligence (AI) on the European economy and job market, brought together
Michel COMBOT, Managing Director of Numeum, Agata HIDALGO, Head of European Affairs at
France Digitale, and Audrey PLONK, Head of the Digital Economy Policy Division at the OECD.
The second round table, entitled “How to ensure that AI is developed and used in compliance
with European ethical values”, brought together Brunessen BERTRAND, Professor at the
Jean Monnet Chair in Data Governance at the University of Rennes, Constance BOMMELAER
DE LEUSSE, Executive Director of the McCourt Institute, and Mariagrazia SQUICIARINI, Head
of the Executive Office for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO. The first round table
was moderated by Michel DERDEVET, President of Confrontations Europe, and the second
by Nicolas VANBREMEERSCH, President of Renaissance Numérique. This summary outlines
their discussions.

INTRODUCTION

AI is now part of the daily lives of billions of people and is transforming our societies and
economies, sometimes imperceptibly, but often with far-reaching consequences. Beyond the
potential benefits of these technologies, the rapid growth of AI raises questions that are at the
heart of the discussions led by Renaissance Numérique and Confrontations Europe.

Because of the potential bias and discrimination it may generate, and the security, data
protection, and mass manipulation or surveillance issues that may be associated with it, the
large-scale adoption of AI raises ethical questions. AI can lead to a major reorganisation of the
workplace, including job changes or redundancies, as well as a distortion of competition on
the job market. Thus, it also raises economic issues. These concerns emphasise the need to
objectivise these phenomena, in order to assess the need to regulate AI developments (or not),
and to identify different levers for action. In this respect, several non-binding texts have been
adopted at an international level in recent years, such as the OECD Framework for the classification of AI Systems, the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence and the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.

Over the past few months, two legislative proposals have brought AI to the forefront of the European public debate: the proposal for a regulation establishing harmonised rules on artificial intelligence (the “AI Act”) and the proposed AI liability directive. At the plenary session in June 2023, MEPs adopted their negotiating position on the AI Act. By approving new transparency and risk management rules for AI systems, the European Parliament has just enacted the world’s first AI legislation of its kind. At the time of publication of this summary, “trialogues” between the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission, on the final form of the text, are underway.

In addition to an overall assessment of the future of AI in the EU, the conference examined two aspects of AI: the opportunities created by its growing use in the economy and the job market, and the question of its responsibility and ethical dimension.

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