To mark the end of their traineeship, the EDPS and the EDPB trainees produced a podcast series of three episodes on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Titled “AI and I: a three-step approach to Artificial Intelligence”, this podcast explores what opportunities, risks and challenges AI and AI-based technologies bring to individuals, society and data protection authorities in the European Union (EU) and in the European Economic Area (EEA).
As the European Data Protection Supervisor, I look forward to welcoming twice a year a new cohort of trainees who always bring a new perspective to the work we do. Their proactivity, outlook and willingness to learn is always welcome, and adds immense value to our work.
I therefore encourage you to listen to their podcast, and to read more about their reflections on the topic of AI in their blogpost below.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gradually permeating into our everyday lives, and, as a result, there is growing public debate about its use and implications in and for society. As a concept, AI is often complex, hard to define, and challenging to understand, given also its exponential development and growth in scope.
With numerous questions on the table, we, the trainees of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) produced a podcast series on Artificial Intelligence (AI). In each of the three episodes, available now on the EDPS website, we invite distinguished guest speakers to examine a specific aspect of AI technologies.
Delving straight into the topic, the first episode begins with an attempt to define what AI is and how AI works. It is not an easy task to provide a definition of AI. AI technologies are generally used to find patterns by analysing huge amounts of data in order to make predictions or decisions. Conversations during this episode explored the common fields in which AI is applied, such as in the health sector, along with reflections on how the use of AI may evolve in the future.
AI-based technologies have the potential to alter society’s way of living, both in a positive and negative sense. For example, AI may help us solve challenges in different areas such as in the education sector. However, AI, may also pose unforeseen significant risks to individuals. AI technologies are capable of processing huge volumes of data, including personal data, in a way humans are unable to. Important decisions are also made by these systems and this can be applied to numerous and diverse aspects, such as sifting through candidates’ job applications; interrogating databases to combat or prevent crime; or for purposes of automated-decision making in the context of border control management. In light of this, the second episode focuses on the risks that AI may pose to human rights. In particular, guest speakers discuss risks from specific technologies such as biometric identification technologies and migration management technologies, as well as the overall discrimination effect that AI technologies can have.
The first two episodes laid down the foundations for the third and final episode of this podcast series, which focuses on the different approaches that could be put in place to help regulate AI, in order to use this tool as a productive solution that also respects individuals’ fundamental rights, including the fundamental rights to privacy and personal data.
The proposed EU AI Act is a framework that aims to define clear rules to prevent or mitigate some of the risks posed by AI, in addition to the General Data Protection Regulation, applicable within the EU Member States. With this in mind, guest speakers contributed to this episode by explaining why it is necessary to regulate AI, and by covering the main points of the EU’s AI Act. Guest speakers also provided their experienced analysis on the areas for improvement that could be brought to the current proposed AI Act. From a practical standpoint, the technological safeguards and data protection measures that could be put in place throughout every stage of the development of AI technology were also discussed during this podcast episode.
As we concluded this podcast series, we acknowledge that there is still much work to be carried out to regulate AI, to make the opportunities and risks that stem from this technology compatible with the fundamental rights of individuals, which data protection authorities, like the EDPS and the EDPB, have the duty of safeguarding.
The EDPS and EDPB trainees of March 2022 Gianluca Ciarfaglia, Gloria Cuesta Noguerales, Elora Fernandes, Christian Ivanov, Carolin Kivioja, Matteo Leffi, Alba Montes Reguero, Maria Vardala.