AI: Fiction of the past, reality of the present, problem of the future?

Artificial Intelligence: Ethics and Regulations

Seda Yılmaz, Mehmet TURGUT, Müfit Yılmaz Gökmen, Begüm Yurttaş , Sibel Pekin, Renjani Puspo Sari

Artificial intelligence (AI) was a thing in many movies back in the 90s, but now it’s slowly taking over our lives. From credit card transactions, Google translate, GPS in our cars, spam filters, to Siri in iPhone, AI is pretty much everywhere. It’s also seen as a big leap and a very profitable sector, so it has been researched and questioned by public, private and academic entities. But this rapid increase comes with new challenges for all, especially in terms of its effects on society, the dynamics of human life and how to regulate these imminent changes.


New dynamics that re-shaped the society

EU emphasizes the assessment of the impact of robotics on different occupations, trying to sustainably ensure social equality  by adjusting social security system and labor laws. The Union also emphasizes on maintaining significant percentage of human labor with the digitization of labor market. As for civil liberties, robots and AI have the potential to improve the quality of life, but EU suggests precautions to be the first step in developing them. It is important to protect the balance between human-robot relations in order not to create a harmful dependence on robots. For example, benefits of robotics for disabled people and for the ones with extraordinary skills should be considered. Therefore, the present rules on privacy and data protection should also apply to AI; public and private sectors and academia should co-work to educate users and designers on ethical implications.

Everyday lives in light of AI

Since the use of AI in transportation is considered very efficient in reducing traffic congestion, Soon, roads will probably be crowded by self-driving vehicles. EU focuses on the use of AI in the healthcare sector as well as transportation. Although the societal potential of cyber-physical systems could be advanced, liability for doctors or healthcare personnel should not be decreased because the CPS integrated into human body could be hacked or switched off. Thus, EU clearly underlines a tightening rule for AI in all fields. In order to be a benefit for the people; it is essential to make a roadmap for proper deployment. As for the environment, reduced use of fertilizers and energy will have a positive impact, but to adopt these impacts, EU highlights once again the need to make processes more resource-efficient.

A new demand in economy

The integration of robotics and AI in the field of industry and energy requires coherent development in infrastructure to protect privacy. EU emphasizes on integration of robotics in industries by transforming the single market into digital market. With necessary regulations in societal areas, robotics could become a vital part of the Union’s economy.  The growth of AI could automate a significant number of jobs and change work practices. Therefore, it is essential to devise an industrial strategy addressing the role of significant sectors. EU also stresses the need to modernize legislation in robotics to facilitate the integration of technologies in value chains and in business models. However, it is still necessary that AI should be regulated under international standards to foster innovation and guarantee a high-level of consumer protection.

These advancements in AI are raising questions about the protection of fundamental rights of EU citizens, privacy, personal data and intellectual property, freedom of information as well as security and safety. Thanks to Andrea Renda, a Senior Researcher CEPS (Center for European Policy Studies), we will go further into detail on the challenges in the ethics and regulation on artificial intelligence today in VUB.


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