Moving forward: challenges and opportunities

AuthorEuropean Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU body or agency)
This report is published amidst ongoing European legislative and policy
developments on artif‌icial intelligence and the global f‌ight against the
coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has potentially quickened acceptance
of innovative technologies. Yet it has also shown that AI is not the panacea
to all problems, and comes with various challenges.
This report clearly shows that using AI systems engages a wide range
of fundamental rights. It also shows that many businesses and public
administrations are already using or planning to use AI and related technologies.
However, these technologies involve different levels of complexity. Most
examples use relatively simple algorithms. The level of automation also
varies. Most – but not all – decision making is subject to human review.
The applications currently used are also often only in the development
stage. EU and national legislators and policymakers should keep this reality
in mind – especially when presented with optimistic expectations of AI’s
potential vis-à-vis the challenges related to using new technologies and the
need to regulate them.
The vast majority of public administrations and businesses interviewed plan
to keep working on or using AI. Only two interviewees indicated that they
will not further use or develop AI. Another two interviewees are cautious.
They plan to wait and see what others are doing, including because of a lack
of resources for further work on using AI.
However, most said that they will further develop or continue to test tools
and (data) infrastructure with respect to the use of AI. This includes starting
new or continuing ongoing pilots, evaluating existing efforts, sharing data
and results with others, increasing data quality, or trying to obtain other
data sources.
Some interviewees mentioned that they are engaged in ongoing debates and
expressed the desire to contribute to the further development of legislation.
They still see the current situation – the absence of harmonised law in the
area – as an obstacle to the further use of AI. In addition, some respondents
said they are working on issues linked to the interpretability of AI. This
means that they are working on methods that enhance understanding and
explanation of decisions based on more complex AI. Some indicated a desire
to look more closely into ethical and legal matters.
Figure 7 shows correlations of words interviewees often use when talking
about their future use of AI. The f‌igure indicates topics that are often raised.
For example, interviewees often used the term ‘data’ when discussing future
“We try to look into the future. We
will automate more and more.”
(Private company, Estonia)
“The next steps are related to
transparency and open data: that is
to say, publish not only information
in pdf, but also information in
reusable formatting so that it could
be reused internally and by the
private sector.”
(Public administration, Spain)
“AI is agreat thing but we must
learn to use it.”
(Private company, Spain)

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