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Published: 2020-05-05

Umeå University statement on European approach for AI

NEWS The European Commission has published a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence aimed to foster a European ecosystem of excellence and trust in AI. Citizens and stakeholders are invited to provide feedback. Umeå University has answered the call with a specific statement sent to the European Commission.

Text: Mikael Hansson

"We, Umeå University, urge the European Commission to embrace such a broad range multidisciplinary view on AI, for which Europe is well known internationally, and that ultimately is key to sustainable and trusted AI,” says Virginia Dignum, professor in Ethical and Social Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University.

Umeå University emphasizes that it is as a university a growing international player in AI research, with over 70 new researchers on AI joining the faculties. To this end the university is investing around 500 MSEK in the coming 10 years, including investments in computational technology. The research aims to integrate data-driven approaches to AI with knowledge-driven, reasoning-based approaches, centred on human values and principles.

Umeå University underlines in the statement to the European Commission, signed by Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor, that the white paper rightly acknowledges the fact that AI does not operate in a lawless world and acknowledges the need for a regulatory framework for AI in Europe.

“We very much agree with the risk-based approach taking into account the changing needs of future applications, while putting our fundamental rights at the centre of all development. The potential impact of AI, both positive and negative, is too large to be left outside democratic oversight. We applaud the direction taken by the European Commission of taking up a rule setting role, given that independently of who is playing the game, without rules no one wins,” the Umeå University says.  

The statement also notes that the current pace of change for AI innovation is high, requiring societal, institutional and technological adjustments. In order to navigate this potential it is essential to bring humanities and social sciences into the conversation.

“Only through working together across disciplines, and in collaboration with public and private stakeholders, we can set the direction towards a sustainable and trustworthy future,” it says.

The statement by Umeå University will be a contribution to the European approach for AI and is provided as an answer to the invitation by the Commission for comments on the proposals set out in the White Paper.



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