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Ethics in AI: building a common European (and global) approach

11 Feb 2019
All Committees
Digital Economy

The European Commission has set an ambitious vision to foster the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI). At the same time, the pervasive and transformative nature of AI has brought questions about transparency, explainability and accountability to the top of the EU digital policy agenda. Addressing these important questions is the responsibility of industry and governments alike and requires a strong public-private partnership. 

AmCham EU has been engaged in discussions on developing ethics guidelines in AI and recently submitted its response to the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG), available here

The HLEG addresses the important topics of ethics and policy through an inclusive and multi-disciplinary approach. Its objective to issue guidelines on ethics in AI that are actionable and proportionate is the right way forward to encourage companies to adopt a responsible and ethical approach to AI. The guidelines provide a thoughtful and comprehensive set of ethical considerations designed to help developers and implementers of AI achieve ‘trustworthy AI’. The success of the guidelines will lie in their ability to take into account the diversity of AI applications. In this regard, the development of ‘use cases’ seems an important way forward to make the guidelines more operational.

AmCham EU supports a human-centric framework for AI that is:

  • Proportional, risk-based and flexible because AI is not a monolithic technology - its ethical risk changes drastically depending on its use and context;
  • Holistic, including high-level principles, best practices, voluntary and industry-driven standards and existing regulation

When developing such framework(s), the global dimension should not be forgotten. AI and its development exists within a global ecosystem, and Europe should work to shape the global debate to promote trustworthy AI for all citizens. The International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) recently issued a declaration on AI and ethics, and AmCham EU responded to the open call for comments (here). We encourage a greater and global collaboration between data protection authorities, national authorities and international organisations to address more broadly ethical data processing as well as needs and challenges of AI use and development.

For more information, contact Maika Fohrenbach at