The European Union’s executive branch on Wednesday announced proposals designed to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI), banning its use in practices such as surveillance and facial scanning that threaten personal rights.
At a news briefing in Brussels, European Commission Executive Vice President and Tech Commissioner Margrethe Vestager noted the benefits of AI in the medical field, agriculture and engineering.
“I think those examples illustrate very well what we want AI in Europe to be: a force for progress," she said.
The proposed regulations address the human and societal risks associated with specific uses of AI, such as mass surveillance and biometric identification in public places.
The draft EU regulations include rules for other uses of artificial intelligence in some risky categories such as choosing schools, jobs or loan applicants, while banning it outright in cases such as "social scoring" or systems used to manipulate human behavior.
The proposals are the bloc's latest move to maintain its role as the world's standard-bearer for technology regulation, putting it ahead of the world's two big tech superpowers, the U.S. and China.
EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton told reporters that Europe would become the first continent to provide guidelines over the use of artificial intelligence.
The commission is continuing to work out details of the proposals and how they will be enacted with EU member governments and the European Parliament before coming into force.