European Commission publishes findings from public consultation on AI

The European Commission has published the responses it received during the public consultation of its White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (which ran between February and June 2020). The consultation attracted over 1200 replies from stakeholders from the public and private sectors within and beyond the EU. According to the summary report prepared by the commission, the actions proposed by the white paper to build an ecosystem of excellence in Europe were qualified as important and highly important by the majority of respondents. Skills were rated as the most important action, followed by research and innovation, and public-private partnerships. Respondents indicated that the areas most likely to benefit from a co-ordinated approach by the EU and the member states include strengthening excellence in research, developing AI skills through adapted training programmes, and developing infrastructures such as world reference-testing facilities and European data spaces. Concerning regulatory options for AI, 42% of respondents requested the introduction of a new regulatory framework, 33% thought that the current legislation needs to be modified to address the gaps identified, and only 3% indicated that current legislation is sufficient. Opinions diverged on the scope of possible new legislation on AI: 42.5% agreed that the introduction of new compulsory requirements should only be limited to high-risk AI applications, but 30.6% doubted such limitations.