The European Commission (EC) released its Communication COM(2018) 237 ‘Artificial Intelligence for Europe’ on 25 April 2018, setting out a European initiative on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is part of its “Delivering on the Digital Single Market – 3rd Data package”. This awaited initiative is essential for the future European economy and the leadership of our industry in a competitive global market.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is continuously developing and is affecting widely the industry in critical fields such as automation, data management, integration of smart technology. Society is also impacted as AI changes the way businesses operate, streamline production and transforms workers' skillsets. AI applies to a variety of sectors where standardization is of high relevance: smart manufacturing, robots, autonomous cars, virtual reality, healthcare, interactive speech interfaces, visual recognition, data analysis/manipulation, home appliances, cybersecurity or spatial programming. Challenges identified in the EC Communication refer to the deployment, interoperability, scalability, safety and liability of AI, thus creating a need for standardization.
How deployment of AI will positively affect EU Standardisation process
European standardization is an essential element to avoid fragmentation in the Digital Single Market and ensure a people-centric approach to AI by making sure that it is benefitting society.
The AI initiative of the European Commission underlines the “solid basis of standards” already existing in the area of AI-enabled devices related among others to the Machinery Directive, the Radio Equipment Directive, the EU safety legislation for medical devices or toys, as well as the Product Liability Directive. The Communication recognises that “The further development and promotion of such safety standards and support in EU and international standardisation organisations will help enable European businesses to benefit from a competitive advantage, and increase consumer trust”.
Expected AI standardization work at international level
At international level, the Joint Technical Committee 1 between ISO and IEC (JTC 1) and its subcommittee (SC) 42 (JTC 1/SC 42) have taken on board standardization work on artificial intelligence under the lead of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and US secretariat. JTC 1 SC 42 counts 18 Members, of which more than half are European and Members of CEN and CENELEC: Austria (ASI), Denmark (DS), Finland (SFS), France (AFNOR), Germany (DIN), Ireland (NSAI), Italy (UNI), Portugal (IPQ), Switzerland (SNV), United Kingdom (BSI). This newly created Committee will provide guidance to other IEC, and ISO committees that are developing AI applications, looking at the full AI IT ecosystem.