On 11 September 2019, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers mandated an Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) to examine, on the basis of broad multi-stakeholder consultations, the feasibility and potential elements of a legal framework for the development, design and application of artificial intelligence, based on Council of Europe standards in the field of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.
The CAHAI is instructed by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to “examine the feasibility and potential elements on the basis of broad multi-stakeholder consultations, of a legal framework for the development, design and application of artificial intelligence, based on the Council of Europe’s standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.
In the performance of its functions, CAHAI “shall take due account of a gender perspective, building cohesive societies and promoting and protecting rights of persons with disabilities”.
In 2020, the Conference of INGOs contributed to the CAHAI feasibility study which highlights the reasons, why it is necessary today to have an adequate legal framework to protect Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, in light of the new challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) systems, which are being increasingly used in our daily lives and societies.
As we know, there is not yet a legal framework to regulate AI, so far, the oversight mechanism has been self-regulation. In general, we have three options: Regulation, Non-Regulation (self-regulation) or a Hybrid model.
We strongly support the Authorities to embrace robust Regulation, to provide oversight on AI systems and to approach it in a way that its balanced: regulate concerning the risks to impact Human Rights and Democracy, but taking into consideration the technology and its development.
Having said this, this does not mean that any and all AI systems and techniques should be allowed: in certain circumstances we totally oppose to it and strong Regulation should be into force, namely, when it comes to protect the essence of the human being.
The EYBA (European Young Bar Association) took part in the Consultation and our premise for this humble contribute took into consideration,
Firstly, the Human Rights protection, for the normal person in society.
Another aspect that we took into consideration, was whether the future legal frame work to be adopted by the Law makers, should adopt a concept of AI.
CAHAI´s Feasibility Study suggests that atechnologically-neutral and simplified definition, such as “a set of sciences, theories and techniques whose purpose is to reproduce by a machine the cognitive abilities of a human being”, is for now suitable.
We agree and support that a future legal framework should endorse a neutral technology based definition, but should always bear in mind the following:
i)If the definition covers all and any aspect related to the theories, techniques whose purpose is to reproduce by a machine the cognitive abilities of a human being in any way known and/or yet to be known.
ii)This larger definition will cover the future developments taken by any form of Artificial Intelligence; also
iii)If the human conscious (essence of the human being) can be subject to any development due to further interaction – the definition as designed will also cover the not yet known conciseness.
iv)If this legal frame work is to be ruled in UE and we should take into account that, although from the legal point of view of rights, that we are equal – we are not equal in terms of consciousness.
v)For instances, bearing in mind that AI will be developed at a rapid pace, and furthermore, we taken into account machine learning is based on the predictability – shouldn’t we take into account that emotionally we, as human beings, will not react in the same way? That a multiple of factors, included but not limited, such as place of living, local society, family values, together with genetics predisposing, will influence our human decision making. Therefore, from whom the machine will learn? From which individuals?
Therefore, we strongly believe that a broader definition – in a more inclusive way – should be taken into account if an AI definition is decided to be included in the legal framework.
The Multi-stakeholder consultation on the elements of a legal framework on AI addressed 41 questions and answers and we hope that our humble contribution can make a significative impact.
On behalf of the EBA Executive Committee, by Agatha Bulha, the Eyba representatives to the Council of Europe & Joyce Herrent as President.