On October 20, the European Parliament adopted three legislative initiatives regarding new rules for Artificial Intelligence. The three initiatives cover some of the most problematic topics concerning AI and aim to place the European Union as a global leader in AI development. The first initiative concerns the Ethical aspects of AI, robots and related technologies; the second a Civil Liability regime for AI and the third Intellectual Property rights for the development of AI.

The initiatives provide the following recommendations:

Proposes a set of ethical principles and legal obligations when developing, deploying and using AI. The report identifies a set of principles which any EU regulation on AI should address; human centric and human-made AI, safety, transparency, accountability, safeguards against discrimination and respect for privacy and data protection.

It also recommends that an exhaustive list of high-risk uses and purposes of AI as well as high-risk sectors should be set to create a coherent and uniform across the EU risk-assessment framework. Some of the high-risk sectors identified are healthcare, public sector and finance, banking and insurance. Furthermore, it is proposed that high-risk AI should be subject to a European certificate of ethical compliance.

Establishes that operators, both front-end and back-end, shall always respond for any liability arising from the use of AI technologies. In most cases, liability will be fault-based. If multiple operators are involved, they shall all be jointly and severally liable. However, a recommendation to design a liability regime based on a risk-assessment is also included, in which high-risk AI-systems will be subject to strict liability rules and the operators will have an obligation to be insured. According to the Parliament’s proposal, this liability can amount to two million euros.

Determines that intellectual property rights (IPRs) shall only be granted to humans, as AI does not have legal personality. Notwithstanding, AI-generated creations shall fall under the scope of the IPRs legal framework, in order to encourage investment in this form of creation. These works shall be protected under a specific form of copyright. The entire IPR ecosystem must be reconsidered to adapt to AI developments.

With these legislative initiatives the European Parliament is opening the discussion on AI regulation. The European Commission’s legislative proposal is expected during the first quarter of 2021.

At VdA, our team of experts is delivering strategic and sophisticated legal advice to help our clients to prepare for the challenges on the new EU regulatory framework for AI-systems.