Recently our CEO, Manuel Marina, had the honor of participating in a significant event in Brussels, alongside Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and distinguished AI innovators like Naja von Schmude from Peregrine.ai and Nancy Yu from HURIDOCS.
The event, held in the presence of members of the European Parliament and other European institutions, focused on the theme of "Enabling AI Innovation in Europe." The opportunity for Idoven to actively participate in such a significant discourse was truly remarkable. How we embrace the new opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) as a region will be crucial for the future of innovation in Europe, not just in the healthcare sector but beyond.
Building a Prosperous AI Ecosystem in Europe
This event held immense importance for Europe's future as it recognizes AI's transformative power in driving growth, efficiency, and innovation across sectors. AI is already revolutionizing industries and propelling economic development in Europe through automation, data analysis, and discovery of new solutions. Healthcare in particular stands as one of the most important fields that AI will transform.
During the event, Sundar Pichai stressed the importance of building AI responsibly, saying “In 2020, I shared my view that AI needs to be regulated in a way that balances innovation and potential harms. With the technology now at an inflection point, I still believe AI is too important not to regulate, and too important not to regulate well.”
Some key takeaways from the discussion were:
- "Time-to-market for AI is also time-to-compliance” (Manuel Marina). A flexible regulatory framework is crucial to fully leverage the benefits of AI while maintaining a safe and compliant environment. Innovation should reach the market without compromising responsible use and ensuring quality.
- Creating a flexible environment is a challenge from a jurisprudence perspective. The European institutions are well positioned to solve this challenge and create new regulations that promote innovation. Just as with the data protection regulation, the European Union aims to be at the forefront of global regulations, setting the most advanced standard.
- For companies like Idoven, creating AI in Europe but thinking globally from day one fosters innovation, enhances our competitive edge, and positions Europe as a leading force in shaping the future of AI, benefiting industries and society as a whole.
The Current Situation of AI Regulation in Europe
The regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe is a crucial step towards fostering innovation and enhancing the continent's competitiveness worldwide. In April 2021, the European Commission presented the proposed regulation, the Artificial Intelligence Act1, which is a key element of the EU's policy to promote the development and adoption of safe and lawful AI across the single market, while still respecting fundamental rights.
This proposed regulation adopts a risk-based approach and aims to establish a comprehensive and harmonized legal framework for AI. Its key objectives include providing legal certainty, promoting investment and innovation in AI, strengthening governance and effective enforcement of existing laws related to fundamental rights and safety, and facilitating the creation of a unified AI market. It works in conjunction with other initiatives, including the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence2, which aims to accelerate investments in Artificial Intelligence technologies, act on AI strategies and programmes, and align AI policy across Europe.
To harness the potential of AI safely, it is essential to take proactive measures that ensure reliability and protect individuals. According to Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, "The AI Act aims to strengthen Europe's position as a global center of excellence in AI from the laboratory to the market, ensure that AI in Europe respects our values and norms, and harness the potential of AI for industrial use."3 This involves promoting transparency and explainability of AI systems, as well as addressing ethical and legal concerns.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is another key component in the regulation of AI in Europe. By establishing clear principles for collecting and utilizing personal data, the GDPR encourages the development of AI solutions that safeguard privacy and protect individuals' rights. It drives organizations to adopt innovative approaches that ensure transparency and informed consent from users, fostering excellence in creating and applying AI technologies.4
Amendments and future implications
Recently, Members of the European Parliament introduced amendments to strengthen the existing AI Act proposal, aiming to enhance the safety and transparency of AI systems, as well as safeguard the fundamental rights of individuals. If these amendments are approved and the AI Act comes into effect, it has the potential to position the EU as a frontrunner in ethical and responsible AI regulation, setting a global example for others to follow.5
These events play a crucial role in promoting collaboration among nations, as well as prevent abuses, foster transparency, and encourage innovation in AI for the benefit of society. As stated by Sundar Pichai, increased international cooperation will be key: "The US and Europe are strategic allies and partners. It's important that the two work together to create robust, pro-innovation frameworks for the emerging technology, based on shared values and goals."
At Idoven, we are thrilled to be part of this significant moment. We take pride in shaping a brighter future for Europe and embracing the unique opportunities that AI offers. We firmly believe in the tremendous potential of AI, especially in the field of cardiology, and are dedicated to leveraging it for improving healthcare outcomes and making a positive impact on society. Together we can build a prosperous and sustainable AI ecosystem worldwide, where our shared values are upheld and responsible growth is prioritized.
1 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonized rules on Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence Act) and amending certain Union Legislative Acts (2021) EUR-Lex | European Union Law. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52021PC0206
2 Coordinated plan on artificial intelligence review (2021) Shaping Europe’s digital future | European Commission. Available at: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/coordinated-plan-artificial-intelligence-2021-review
3 Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence (2021) European Commission . Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_21_1682
4 The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on Artificial Intelligence (2020) Think Tank | European Parliament. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_STU(2020)641530
5 MEPs ready to negotiate first-ever rules for safe and transparent AI: News: European parliament (2023) News | European Parliament. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230609IPR96212/meps-ready-to-negotiate-first-ever-rules-for-safe-and-transparent-ai