FEDIL: AI Regulation Should Not Be Industry Straitjacket

The industrial sector is undergoing a transformation in the digitalisation of its processes (Photo © Shutterstock)

The Commission’s first proposal for harmonised bloc-wide rules on artificial intelligence was issued on 21 April, 2021, in a bid to boost the continent’s global competitiveness. In parallel, the body set up an action programme to boost innovation and investment in AI technology.

In a press release dated 14 February, the lobby group called for the rules and industry obligations to be “proportionate to the risks incurred, realistic in relation to the objectives pursued and clear and objective for actors to follow”.

“The new rules should not constitute a regulatory straitjacket that hinders innovation and investment, leads to more costly solutions and ultimately fails to achieve the EU’s ambition to make important technological advances in this area,” the press release said.

Classifying Risk

The industrial sector is undergoing a transformation in the digitalisation of its processes, thanks to big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Fedil says they are already being applied domestically in areas such as smart energy management, manufacture, quality control, smart grids and smart material modelling.

But it fears the momentum could be cut short if the definition of high-risk applications is too broad. In its draft rules, the Commission classifies AI systems based on their risk level with specific rules outlined for each risk level, and high risk systems being banned.

Fedil states: “It should be avoided that industrial applications that do not present a high risk, fall within the scope of the full specifications for high-risk AI. This would be disproportionate and would discourage small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups in particular from developing innovative industrial AI applications.”

Specifically, it wants to see clarifications in the area of data governance, record keeping and human oversight.

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