The technology agenda has become a key driving force of the European Union’s (EU) global position. This is especially relevant in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it will contribute to the development of beneficial, trustworthy and robust AI worldwide, grounded in Europe’s democratic values. Europe’s place in the world is unique in that sense: its cultural diversity, traditions and perspectives are crucial in building and maintaining a cutting-edge research and innovation community. It is for that same reason that the EU is uniquely suited to establish an ecosystem of excellence around AI.
The European Commission’s vision for AI regulation is an important and ambitious step to making trustworthy AI the norm in Europe and beyond, and speaks for its leadership in developing a regulatory framework for the responsible development and use of AI.
At Microsoft, we welcome the European Commission’s proposed AI Act and share the Commission’s goal to ensure that the vast potential of AI can be realized by all in ways that are safe, respectful of fundamental rights, and aligned with European values.
We are committed to developing and deploying technology that supports Europe’s ambitions to become Fit for the Digital Age. Companies like ours have a tremendous responsibility in ensuring that our technology is in line with EU values. And it is for that same reason that we are committed to making TechFit4Europe. This is our acknowledgement of the particular role the tech sector needs to play in helping Europe realize its digital ambitions; we in the tech industry are the ones that need to adapt to European rules and values, not the other way around.
In April 2021, our third annual Data Science & Law Forum took place. This year’s Forum focused on operationalizing responsible AI, and explored the rules and structure that will be needed to shape the development and application of robust and reliable AI technology. Just days after the Forum began, the European Commission published its proposed AI regulation framework, adding to the topical and timely nature of the Forum.
With pandemic measures still in place, the Forum was held online and attracted over 1,000 participants from 42 countries. They heard opinions, insights, and aspirations from more than 60 European and global AI experts as well as national and EU policymakers, including MEPs.
We were delighted to be able to bring together such a varied and knowledgeable selection of panellists and speakers who brought the benefit of their experience and insights to an appreciative audience. As the vitally important discussion on the most effective and acceptable approach to AI regulation continues, we are sure many of the themes and ideas we heard talked about will continue to shape the decisions of the future.
AI is among the most powerful technologies of our time. It is having nothing less than a transformational impact on our increasingly digital lives in the 21st century. With the AI Act now in the legislative process, discussions on how to translate data science into law and the other way around are critical. We need the right guardrails to accompany the development and deployment of AI, and we need to foster innovation to utilize the technology for critical societal challenges of our times. The hard question is how to do it. We feel this report is a timely contribution to that question.