The Equinet position paper paper Regulating for European AI that Protects and Advances Equality presents recommendations regarding the legislative proposal by the European Commission on which at present the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union seek to reach political agreement. It reflects the position of equality bodies on how to better protect equality in the context of AI-enabled systems through the future horizontal Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA).
AI and equality in Europe
Automated decision-making systems increasingly affect our lives on a daily basis, and discriminatory algorithms might adversely impact individuals, communities and society as a whole even when they cannot be seen. Therefore, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an area of strategic importance for the European Union (EU). Strong regulations are needed to ensure biases are eliminated and nobody is left behind by these systems.
In April 2021, the European Commission unveiled a new proposal for an EU regulatory framework on artificial intelligence (AI). The draft AI act is the first ever attempt to enact a horizontal regulation of AI with an explicit objective of protecting fundamental rights. The proposed legal framework focuses on the specific utilisation of AI systems and associated risks.
Equality should be a central and explicit consideration in any EU regulation on the human and ethical implications of AI. Equality bodies, through their various competences, possess a unique insight into the state of equality and discrimination, that can be of utmost importance in the development, monitoring and impact assessment of algorithmic systems.
Recognizing the importance of ensuring equality in AI systems and the critical role equality bodies play in it, Equinet has been investing in developing different resources to address this issue. The newly published position paper Regulating for European AI that Protects and Advances Equality issues recommendations on the legislative proposal by the European Commission.
Based on the Equinet Report on AI and on our submissions to the European Commission’s consultation on AI, the recommendations in this paper aim to reflect the position of equality bodies on how to protect equality in the context of AI-enabled systems. In specific, the Position Paper addresses how to ensure that the role and powers of equality bodies are augmented and effectively taken into account when designing and developing the broader infrastructure of enforcement and redress of rights in the context of AI systems.
In 2021, Equinet also contributed through to the Council of Europe's Ad Hoc Committee's on AI (CAHAI) public consultation concerning future AI regulation (i.e. a framework convention on AI). An extended version of the submission with supporting points and explanations was sent to Equinet members in order to support their engagement with present and future regulatory initiatives on AI, both at European and national level.
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You can find all linked documents in our AI Library.