08.04.2019

eco on EU Ethics Guidelines for AI: Promoting Societal Discourse on Responsibility for Artificial Intelligence

Commenting on the new guidelines for the ethical use of artificial intelligence presented today by the EU Commission, Chair of the eco Board Oliver J. Süme says:

“We welcome the message that the EU is conveying today with its new ethics guidelines for the future topic of AI: Trustworthy AI applications should be developed and used in such a way that they respect human autonomy, yet function securely, fairly, and transparently. With their developments, products, and services, digital companies are driving digital change and share responsibility for answering the associated societal questions that arise. As the Association of the Internet industry, we take these questions very seriously and are convinced that ethical norms, guidelines for action, and with this framework conditions for the development and use of digital technologies must be formulated in a process involving close cooperation between companies, policy-makers, and civil society. eco wants to effectively advance the societal discourse on the responsibility for artificial intelligence.”

Acceptance of artificial intelligence must be promoted on the basis of transparency

The knowledgeable handling of data, the relationship between people and technology, the whole-society responsibility for artificial intelligence, and the strategic promotion of this future technology – these are the greatest challenges within the ethical debate. “The key is transparency. In artificial intelligence systems, the question always arises as to the transparency of the technologies, algorithms, and the decisions they make. Only a transparent approach to artificial intelligence can strengthen people’s trust in an autonomously working and decision-making system,” says Süme.

In order to support and flank the various discussions and to place them in the context of current technological developments, eco – Association of the Internet Industry has formulated guidelines for the handling of AI. Moreover, with its “Digital Ethics Compendium”, eco also offers an important contribution to promoting the whole-society discourse on digital ethics. The compendium* contains current expert opinions and specialist articles on various issues in connection with digital ethics, for example in the focus areas of government & framework conditions, work, IT security, and education.

Internet companies assuming responsibility: Self-regulation works

The Internet Industry Association also stresses that many companies are already assuming responsibility for ethical challenges arising from digital transformation and are successfully contributing to compliance with ethical standards, for example through self-regulatory initiatives. A prominent example here is the eco Complaints Office and its work in combatting unwanted and illegal Internet content.

* The Digital Ethics Compendium is already available here for download in the German language and will shortly be available in English. You can find extracts of the compendium in English here in dotmagazine.

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