Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) held a debate on AI and the data and digital strategies, on Thursday.

You can catch up with the full debate here

MEPs held an exchange of views with the European Commission, followed by a second panel with industry and civil society representatives.

“I like to think artificial intelligence as a result of a triangle of infrastructure, skills and data” said AIDA committee Vice-Chair and rapporteur on the Data Strategy Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D, FI).

“First, to train an algorithm, we need to have computers doing the calculations. Second, you need people to tell those computers what and how to count. Lastly, you need data to enable computers to learn. Sometimes, this third one does not get the attention it deserves.”

“One way to think about the relation between data and artificial intelligence is that if AI-algorithms are the engine, data is the fuel. Even if we have the finest engine, it is useless if we don’t have the necessary fuel. This is why data should be at the centre of our attention when we are charting the path towards European future for AI” she said.

“Regulating data economy is not easy. There are tricky questions to be solved and interests to be balanced. Trustworthiness and transparency are especially important when we are talking about data created by human beings. It is important that the protections we’ve won, like GDPR are not lost in the artificial intelligence age. We need to keep the humans in the centre. Personal control on who gets to use and share my data must stay at the hands of the individual human being” she said.

“The European Parliament gave its support to the Data strategy, it is ready for trialogues on the Data Governance act and is also eagerly waiting the commission proposal on a Data Act. It is also very positive that alongside regulation, Europe has dedicated resources to create a data economy and is ready for more intensive international cooperation” she concluded.

Background

In a report adopted on the 25th of March 2021, the European Parliament said that the EU should tap into the increasing volumes of data as a source of growth and innovation.

The European strategy for data, tabled in February 2020, aims at creating a single market for data that will ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and data sovereignty. Common European data spaces will ensure that more data becomes available for use in the economy and society, while keeping companies and individuals who generate the data in control.

The Data Strategy and the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence are the first pillars of the new digital strategy of the Commission. They all focus on the need to put people first in developing technology, as well as on the need to defend and promote European values and rights in how we design, make and deploy technology in the real economy.

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