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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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Campaigners at openDemocracy, supported by Foxglove, have won a lawsuit against the NHS data deal with Palantir. The lawsuit concerns a £23m (€26.6m) two-year deal that provides Palantir with health data from the NHS. The lawsuit challenges the UK government’s position that citizens do not have a right to a say in NHS contracts with big tech and mean that the government is no longer committing to extending the contract with Palantir beyond COVID without consultations with the public. They have agreed to carry out this public engagement via patient juries. Given recent concerns about Palantir’s reach within Europe and its participation in GAIA-X, we can expect to see more campaigns and lawsuits along these lines soon.

The
UK will associate with the EU’s Horizon Europe Programme (funding research and innovation), participating in the “largest collaborative funding scheme in the world”. Horizon Europe has a budget of €95.5 billion until 2027.

The German Marshall Fund in the US published interesting blog posts about
watching China in Europe in their monthly updates.

Researchers on a collaborative project between INBRAIN Neuroelectronics and the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) in Barcelona and the Nanomedicine Lab at the University of Manchester have secured £12m (€13.88m) of funding to research graphene-based brain implants to treat brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and epilepsy.

Germany’s Cyber Mentoring programme is looking for
mentors.

Policy, Strategy and Regulation

UK law for AI in the workplace leaves space for improvement 

A new report published by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), written by barristers at the AI Law Consultancy, claims significant gaps exist in UK law concerning the application of AI in the workplace, providing recommendations to the trade union movement and proposing legislative changes.

When reviewing the current capacity for UK laws to ‘control the use of AI systems in the workplace’ (summary pp.38-42) it concludes that they are not wholly ineffective but leave many significant gaps. These include;

  • Difficulties supporting the ‘Right to work without discrimination’ noting particular difficulties where systems lack transparency,
  • ‘Principles of observability and transparency’ highlighting the absence of a universal legal right of explainability and how IP rights may impede transparency,
  • The ‘Right to privacy’ claiming there is a lack of legally binding guidance in the ECHR Article 8, the ‘Right to data protection’ making various comments on UK GDPR,
  • ‘Protection from AI-powered decisions that are irrational or unfair’ highlighting potential challenges around unfair dismissal,
  • ‘Management with a personal relationship’, and the potential for marginalisation if workers have no entitlement to insist that particular decisions are made by a human,
  • ‘Protection of workers’ private time from intrusion from technology’, citing the absence of a legal tool to enforce boundaries on work communication during the personal lives of employees/workers,
  • ‘Rights of association and bargaining’, commenting that current legislation does not mandate collective bargaining with regards to the use of AI and automated decision making.

The report contains 7 guiding principles (pp.93-97) as well as 17 specific recommendations which fall under the categories of (1) General recommendations for legislation, (2) Recommendations concerning a bipartisan approach to data rights and (3) Recommendations concerning collective bargaining and a multi-stakeholder approach.

Notes in the Margin: While there are too many recommendations to describe in detail here, the report puts a significant emphasis on additional rights and protections around ‘high risk’ AI and ADM applications and recommends modifications to UK GDPR in several ways.
 

Ecosystem

UK joins the EU High Performance Computing programme

As mentioned earlier, the UK will be participating in Horizon Europe as an associate country. It has also joined EuroCC, a European programme to support High-Performance Computing (HPC) across Europe. The programme in the UK will be known as EuroCC@UK and aims to enable industry to benefit from HPC, high-performance data analytics (HPDA) and AI technologies. Further to this, the programme will map and develop HPC training, software support and industry engagement programmes in the UK. They will join a network of >30 centres across Europe.

EuroCC is funded jointly by national funding programmes and Horizon Europe under the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (as described in
this newsletter).

Notes in the Margin: Welcome back, that was quick.

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

The European Investment Bank funds AI things

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it will be providing €7.5m in funding to Austrian AI company Cortical.io. The funding will support the company's growth and cover R&D costs, with financing provided under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Cortical.io is a software company that processes and interprets human language text using Natural Language Understanding (NLU). 

Separately, the EIB are providing
€50m in risk financing to Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 (WB2), a venture capital fund run by Bayern Kapital GmbH. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for the European Commission states that this fund may help support German start-ups ‘in fields like robotics, digitisation, industrial manufacturing and artificial intelligence or life sciences’.


The European AI Fund funds advocacy and policy around ADMs

The European AI Fund (despite the name not an EU institution) has revealed the grantees from their open call, announcing the 16 organisations who will share €1.55m fund to ‘shape and influence public and policy debates in Europe around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Decision Making (ADM) over the next 12-18 months. 

This budget is an increase from the €1m originally announced, as the result of the urgency of the work. Related to this, the European AI fund’s ‘Tech and COVID-19 grant’ was discussed in this newsletter

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Contact Charlotte Stix at:
www.charlottestix.com
@charlotte_stix


Ben Gilburt  co-wrote this edition.
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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