Artificial Intelligence: Ethics and Regulations in the European Union

Written by: Seda Yılmaz, Mehmet Turgut, Müfit Yılmaz Gökmen, Begüm Yurttaş, Sibel Pekin, Renjani Puspo Sari, Luciano Morganti, Heritiana Ranaivoson

Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of intelligent robots was a big hit in many movies back in the 90s. Now it is leaving the science fiction shelf and is quickly taking over many aspects of our lives. From fields like the financial sector, healthcare, education, transport, insurances, to specific applications like credit card transactions, Google translate, GPS, spam filters and Siri in iPhones, AI, or applications of it, is today pretty much everywhere even if we are not aware we are using it (or being used by it). AI is also seen as a big leap and a very profitable economic sector, so it receives more and more the attention of the public at large, the private and academic entities and governments and politics.

This rapid societal and economic uptake of AI comes with new and unforeseen challenges: what are the short and long-term effects on our society? How will AI change the dynamics of human life? How to regulate the imminent changes brought by a sector in dynamic transition and expansion? What happens and who pays the consequences if AI becomes malicious or if it simply leads to errors and mistakes?

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Robot Journalism – We should not be afraid

Robot journalism or automation is becoming an important part of news production. It speeds up news production and generates a vast amount of content in a matter of sector to be distributed and consumed in print and online. However, we know little about how news automation work and its implication on ethics and quality of journalism, as well as the impact on human journalists.

These questions were explored in a workshop organized by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) within the framework of the Media Road project on 5 June in Lisbon, Portugal. The workshop was attended by around 40 participants from across Europe, including journalists, academics, media and journalists’ representatives.

Experts on robot journalism, journalists, developers, media managers and academics participated in the three panels discussion focusing on: the production and application of robot journalism, the impact on the working conditions of journalists and the ethical issues surrounding robot journalism.

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Artificial Intelligence: the European Commission outlines a European approach to boost investment and sets ethical guidelines

by Guenaelle Collet

Europe has world-class researchers, laboratories and start-ups in the field of AI. The EU is also strong in robotics. However, fierce international competition requires coordinated action for the EU to be at the forefront of AI development.

On 25 April, the European Commission published a series of measures to boost Europe’s competitiveness in the field of AI. The Commission’s approach is three-fold: it aims to increase public and private investment in AI, prepare for socio-economic changes, and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework.

On the financial support front, the Commission is increasing its investment to €1.5 billion for the period 2018-2020 under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

As regards socio-economic challenges and changes to the job market, the Commission is encouraging Member States to modernise their education and training systems and support labour market transitions. The Commission will also directly support business-education partnerships to attract and keep more AI talent in Europe and set up dedicated training schemes with financial support from the European Social Fund. Proposals under the EU’s next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027) will also include strengthened support for training in advanced digital skills, including AI-specific expertise.

As regards ethical and legal frameworks, the Commission would like to set standards for market players in the EU and position the EU industry on the global scene

It is soon to appoint a High Level Expert Group (HLEG) that will steer the work and contribute towards drafting ethical guidelines on AI developments by the end of 2018. Those guidelines should be based on the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, taking into account principles such as data protection and transparency, and building on the work of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. To help develop these guidelines, the Commission will bring together all relevant stakeholders in a European AI Alliance. Parallel discussions on ethical guidelines are ongoing at G7 level.

Moreover, in order to further create an environment that stimulates investment, the Commission is proposing legislation to open up more data for re-use and measures to make data sharing easier. This covers data from public utilities and the environment as well as research and health data.

On 10 April, 25 Member States expressed their support for such EU positioning by signing a Declaration of cooperation on AI. The composition of the HLEG is expected to be announced in the end of May.

First MediaRoad conference looks at media innovation

The first thematic MediaRoad event was organized on 2 March 2018 in Geneva as part of the EBU Big Data Week. The conference focused on how the media sector could take advantage of the latest innovations. The conference was organized by the EPFL, a major European research institution, with the full support of the MediaRoad project, a Horizon 2020-funded initiative to create a European media ecosystem for innovation.

The “Media Innovation in the age of AI, social media and fake news” conference gathered representatives of academia, research, broadcasters, and business who looked at the use of data and artificial intelligence for media content,

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Media Innovation in the age of AI, social media and fake news

Over the last years, the Media industry has gone through intense disruptions and very profound structural changes. Decades ago, consuming audiovisual services meant tuning to our traditional public and private broadcast TV and radio services. Then came the digitalization of the content, and broadband. As a major shift in the way media content was offered to the end users, the broadcast channels lost their de-facto exclusivity. Media services from Internet players and ISP popped up and started eating a growing part of the media business cake. Content became also on-demand. Finally came the Mobile and Social Network revolutions. Shorter content became popular and Social Networks brought the ultimate paradigm shift: the media content was no longer only “owned” by the media players, it was also being generated by the end users themselves. With the potential to be viewed by audiences sometimes larger than the media players.

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Televisione 4.0

Written by Alberto Messina

The digital transformation in the TV world

The Televisione 4.0 event, held on November 23rd at the University of Salerno (Campus in Fisciano), brought together leading Italian media players (RAI, Sky, Mediaset, Publitalia, RTL 102.5) to better understand the future of television.

The way people like to use content is changing and future media players will have to systematically deal with user interaction data analysis to create new experiences and take full advantage of new platforms and standards. In this context, the conference identified and focused on the real protagonist of this future: the user. The discussion highlighted some of key topics that will be crucial for the future developments of television. 

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