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Can the EU Really Outlaw Artificial Intelligence? Not Likely.....

by SwoopTalent, on May 15, 2018

In the past few years as Artificial Intelligence becomes more sophisticated, many have been left to wonder about the effect the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have on the growing industry. The GDPR set forth new regulations for corporations regarding the personal data privacy rights of EU citizens. The European Commission defines personal data as: "any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer's IP address."

Keep in mind, the GDPR was concocted in January 2012 and it is expected to have complete compliance by all member states by May 25th of this year. Issues like explicit consent to use of information, the right to be forgotten, and the right to data portability, all make it seem as though current algorithms using personal data to train AI may require a lot of adjusting to comply with these rules. 

But, there are still loopholes that companies utilizing AI can use to avoid being subjected to this regulation, if they are using it in a certain way. In Article 23 of REGULATION (EU) 2016/679, there are some uses of personal data that are not covered by the GDPR, such as:

  • public & national security and defense;
  • the prevention, investigation, detection, or prosecution of criminal offenses and ethics breaches of regulated professions;
  • other important objectives of general public interest, in particular an important economic or financial interest including monetary, budgetary and taxation matters, public health and social security;
  • a few other specialized use cases.

In 2016, a U.K. House of Commons committee concluded it is too soon to regulate Artificial Intelligence, stating: "While it is too soon to set down sector-wide regulations for this nascent field, it is vital that careful scrutiny of the ethical, legal and societal dimensions of artificially intelligent systems begins now. Not only would this help to ensure that the UK remains focused on developing 'socially beneficial' AI systems, it would also represent an important step towards fostering public dialogue about, and trust in, such systems over time."

There is obviously a conflict here, given the fact that the GDPR was drafted at a time when AI still seemed to be a pipe dream of the future. If nothing else, this debate shows how bureaucracy continuously fails to keep up with technological innovation. The subject is far from settled and likely to be of intense debate in the coming years. But, for now, it seems like companies using personal information of EU citizens will continue to grow and prosper. 

Ready to begin your journey into putting your data to action for your business? SwoopTalent can help guide the way.  Don't hesitate to contact us!