The EuropeanAI Newsletter
Covering Artificial Intelligence in Europe

Welcome to the EuropeanAI Newsletter covering the European AI and technology ecosystem. If you want to catch up on the archives, they're available here.

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The French Presidency of the Council of the EU (starting 01/01/22) announced climate, social and digital as its mandate’s priorities. For digital it will investigate hate speech and the legislation on digital services and markets (DSA and DMA). Interestingly, there is no mention of the AI Act. 

The Council of the EU published its first amendments to the AI Act. Among those is an article on general purpose AI systems. However, the change itself doesn’t seem change much as general purpose AI system’s themselves would not fall under the regulation unless their intended purpose (when being put on the market) falls within the scope of the regulation and therefore makes them subject to the regulation. Presumably, this would have been applicable even before the amendment of the Council.

Dragoș Tudorache (Renew, Romania) and Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy) will be the EU Parliament’s negotiators for the AI Act.

Yesterday, the UK government’s Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill published its 
190 pages long report on the issue. You can find a summary of recommendations entitled ‘Big Tech has failed its chance to self regulate’ here.

Policy, Strategy and Regulation

Improving working conditions in the platform economy

The European Commission has proposed new measures to improve the working conditions of workers in digital labour platforms. Among the proposals, Art 6 mandates the disclosure of the presence and characteristics of automated monitoring and decision-making systems used by the platform that could significantly impact working conditions to platform workers; Art 7 requires human monitoring of individual decisions involving automated systems to be undertaken by platforms, and for risks of automated systems on working conditions to be assessed regularly. Art 8 provides for the right of explanation and appeal to significant decisions supported by automated systems. It is unclear what “significant impact” on working conditions may mean when applied in practice. These provisions support the broader goal of the Directive to expand existing protections for personal data processing by automated decision-making systems present in the General Data Protection Regulation, and proposed requirements for AI systems established in the AI Act.

Towards an 'effective AI assurance ecosystem'

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation has released an independent report presenting a ‘Roadmap to an Effective AI Assurance Ecosystem’, describing the route towards an ecosystem of tools and services that support an ‘effective, pro-innovation governance of AI’. The roadmap identifies two challenges; the first being the ‘information problem’, describing the availability of evidence to determine whether an AI system is trustworthy, and the second is a ‘communication problem’, exploring how to inform users on a system’s trustworthiness. Their ambition is to have the assurance ecosystem up and running within the next 5 years.

Notes in the Margins: Inspiration for the UK’s assurance services can be found in the AI Act’s process to ensure that a high-risk AI system adheres to various legal obligations and in previous work by researchers, for example
in this piece


The EU's Global Gateway

The Global Gateway has been launched by the European Commission and the High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The investment strategy aims to fund global infrastructure projects with up to €300 billion between 2021 and 2027, including support for a digital transition that is secure, trustworthy, and regulated. The strategy underlines the importance of strengthening digital networks and infrastructure (e.g. space-based secure communication systems, cloud and data infrastructure) to support secure and trustworthy data exchange, high performance computing, and artificial intelligence, among others. Countries and populations vulnerable to the digital divide are investment priorities, as the EU seeks to level the international playing field and disseminate a European values-based approach to digital development.

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Nuances in antitrust probe

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the merger of Microsoft and Nuance, which will see Nuance become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft. The European Commission has set a provisional deadline for the 21st of December 2021. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is also investigating the deal and has opened an invitation to comment from the 13th of December 2021 to the 10th of January 2022. If approved, the deal would see Microsoft acquire Nuance for ~$16bn (~€14bn).

Moving closer to the edge of AI 

The storAIge project has been granted ~€100m in Horizon 2020 (now Horizon Europe) funding towards the development of ‘Fully Depleted Silicon on Insulator’ (FDSOI) and embedded Phase Change Memory (ePCM) to support Edge AI applications. The project is funded through to 2024. A desire to improve Edge AI capabilities was also described in Digital Europe’s 2021-22 work programme as described in this newsletter.

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Ben Gilburt  co-wrote this edition. Rebecca Sokolov provides research and editorial support.
Interesting events, numbers or policy developments that should be included? Send an email!

Disclaimer: this newsletter is personal opinion only and does not represent the opinion of any organisation.

Copyright © Charlotte Stix, All rights reserved.
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