food for brAIn | Talk with Paul Nemitz

On 23 January, SOLIDAR & SOLIDAR Foundation secretariat and members had an insightful meeting with Paul Nemitz, Principal Adviser on the Digital Transition in DG Justice and Consumers at the European Commission, facilitated by Dr. Susanne Drake from the Willi-Eichler-Akademie. 

Mr. Nemitz started the discussion by highlighting the power element in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and that we must approach anything that has to do with power in a critical way and have democratic control over it. In this sense, it is of high importance to know who the AI producers are, their roles and intentions as well as their relations to democracy.

Among several risks associated with the use of AI at a human and societal levels, one of them is represented by the fact that algorithms engaged in technology use the data of yesterday, which is primitively empirical and cannot follow patterns of dreams, motivation, imagination or engage with critical questions of the present. Therefore, it cannot be relied upon when it comes to political and societal development.

He also highlighted that while the general trend of today is to associate innovation with technology, innovation deals, in fact, with finding ways to improve the societal wellbeing, and it is a reductionist view of humanity to believe that only technology is innovative.

The discussion also delved into bigger risks of AI, such as profiling and data use which are limitations of freedom and rights. On this matter, he recommended the creation of a consensus panel informing us of AI, as well as a body to monitor law implementation.

For a comprehensive approach to AI, Mr. Nemitz suggests not only to look at AI itself and the directly related regulations, but also to other policies and areas such as data protection, employment, election advertisement etc. This is because while AI mostly relates to technology, other areas focus on people. He also mentioned keeping track of where AI is used, and where there data is scarce, then there should be more work put into transparency.

AI is a relevant topic for SOLIDAR & SOLIDAR Foundation: safeguarding people’s rights and freedoms must be put at the centre of any innovative technology. Favorably, algorithms should only be used to improve democratic participation and build social and learning societies, and no technology should be put above or replace human beings.