'A group of policy experts assembled by the EU has recommended that it ban the use of AI for mass surveillance and mass “scoring of individuals”; a practice that potentially involves collecting varied data about citizens — everything from criminal records to their behavior on social media — and then using it to assess their moral or ethical integrity.
The recommendations are part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to establish itself as a leader in so-called “ethical AI.” Earlier this year, it released its first guidelines on the topic, stating that AI in the EU should be deployed in a trustworthy and “human-centric” manner.
The new report offers more specific recommendations. These include identifying areas of AI research that require funding; encouraging the EU to incorporate AI training into schools and universities; and suggesting new methods to monitor the impact of AI. However, the paper is only a set of recommendations at this point, and not a blueprint for legislation.
Notably, the suggestions that the EU should ban AI-enabled mass scoring and limit mass surveillance are some of the report’s relatively few concrete recommendations. (Often, the report’s authors simply suggest that further investigation is needed in this or that area.)
The fear of AI-enabled mass-scoring has developed largely from reports about China’s nascent social credit system. This program is often presented as a dystopian tool that will give the Chinese government huge control over citizens’ behavior; allowing them to dole out punishments (like banning someone from traveling on high speed rail) in response to ideological infractions (like criticizing the Communist party on social media).
However, more recent, nuanced reporting suggests this system is less Orwellian than it seems. It’s split among dozens of pilot programs, with most focused on stamping out everyday corruption in Chinese society rather than punishing would-be thought crime.'
Read more: EU should ban AI-powered citizen scoring and mass surveillance, say experts