EU mulls liability laws for AI systems, paving way for compensation claims

EU mulls liability laws for AI systems, paving way for compensation claims

The European Union’s executive board has proposed new legislation that would make it easier for European citizens to sue companies for harm caused by artificial intelligence technology.

The AI ​​liability directive proposed Wednesday has several goals, the main one being to update product liability laws to cover machine learning systems. It also aims to ease the burden of proof required for people to claim compensation as a result of injuries caused by AI.

Provided someone can prove that an AI system has caused them harm, then this should make it much easier for them to claim compensation. The legislation is not just about physical injury, but other types of harm as well. So if people think an AI system has discriminated against them, that could also be grounds for compensation. For example, if an AI-based mortgage application tool or recruiting software rejects them unfairly, they might just have a case.

In addition to compensation claims, the AI ​​Liability Directive would also give Europeans the right to demand details of how an organization uses AI to facilitate compensation claims. That said, companies will also be able to show that no harm has been done by their AI systems and object to giving up sensitive data used to train them, if it includes trade secrets.

Additionally, the new legislation is designed to provide companies with clearer guidance on AI liability rules and regulations, so they know the types of claims they could face if they decide to deploy. technology. It is hoped that this will bring more stability and encourage the deployment of AI technologies, rather than discourage it.

“We want AI technologies to thrive in the EU,” said Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values ​​and Transparency at the European Commission. “For this to happen, people need to trust digital innovations. With today’s AI Liability Proposal, we’re giving customers tools to seek redress for AI damages so they have the same level of protection as with technologies. traditional methods and we guarantee legal certainty for our internal market.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said it was remarkable that the EU was once again at the forefront of implementing new technology legislation, this time providing what appears to be the world’s first framework that would allow people to claim damages for the use of AI. drive products and services.

“Interestingly, the EU does not view AI as a tool that is ultimately operated or controlled by a human,” he said. “The risk of introducing legislation like this early in the life cycle of a new technology is the unintended consequences, which in the worst case scenario is that it leads to stifling of innovation, reduced investment and reduced benefits for EU residents. It’s too early to tell if this will happen as a result of new EU legislation, but we’ll see in due course once it comes into force.

There is a long way to go before the AI ​​Accountability Directive is enacted. At this stage, it is a simple proposal, which means that it must be debated and edited, voted on and then, if adopted, automatically approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Only then would it become law.

The proposed legislation would apply to any type of damage covered by national laws. It would also make it easier to seek compensation against anyone who “influenced the AI ​​system that caused the damage,” according to an FAQ page about the new laws.

“While considering the enormous potential of new technologies, we must always ensure consumer safety,” said Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. “Appropriate standards of protection for EU citizens are the basis for consumer confidence and therefore for successful innovation. New technologies like drones or AI-powered delivery services can only work when consumers feel safe and protected. Today we are proposing modern liability rules that will do just that.

Photo: dimitrisvetsikas1969/Pixabay

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