AI, Discrimination & Diversity: EU Proposes Regulations

MEPs voted on the Artificial intelligence (AI) regulations yesterday, 16 March 2021.

By Joel Davies -

Meeting to vote on the future of AI in Europe; the MEPs for the Culture and Education Committee decided on three major points that were adopted by 25 votes in favour, none against and 4 abstentions.

The first point is to reduce gender, social or cultural bias in AI technologies. The use of AI technologies in education, culture and the audiovisual sector could have an impact on “the backbone of fundamental rights and values of our society”, says the Culture and Education Committee. It calls for all AI technologies to be regulated and trained to protect non-discrimination, gender equality, pluralism, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity.

The second key point is to regulate media algorithms to protect diversity. To prevent algorithm-based content recommendations, especially in video and music streaming services from negatively affecting the EU’s cultural and linguistic diversity, MEPs ask for specific indicators to be developed to measure diversity and ensure that European works are being promoted. The Commission aim to establish a clear ethical framework for how AI technologies are used in EU media to ensure people have access to culturally and linguistically diverse content. Such a framework should also address the misuse of AI to disseminate fake news and disinformation, they add.

The proposed regulations aim to protect and preserve European culture from AI.

Teaching EU values to Artificial Intelligence is the third point. The use of biased data that reflect already existing gender inequality or discrimination should be prevented when training AI, the MEPs urge. Instead, inclusive and ethical data sets must be developed, with the help of stakeholders and civil society, to be used during the “deep learning” process. The MEPs stress that teachers must always be able to correct decisions taken by AI, such as students’ final evaluations. At the same time, they highlight the need to train teachers and warn that they must never be replaced by AI technologies, especially in early childhood education.

“We have fought for decades to establish our values of inclusion, non-discrimination, multilingualism and cultural diversity, which our citizens see as an essential part of European identity”, said rapporteur Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) after the vote. “These values also need to be reflected in the online world, where algorithms and AI applications are being used more and more. Developing quality and inclusive data systems for use in deep learning is vital, as is a clear ethical framework to ensure access to culturally and linguistically diverse content”.

To make the three proposed regulations official, the full House will vote on the resolution in April (tbc). The Commission is also expected to propose a legislative framework for trustworthy AI in April 2021, as a follow-up to its white paper on AI.

You can find more information on the proposed regulations on the EU’s website.

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