Report on safety and liability implications of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics will create new opportunities and benefits for our society. The Commission has recognised the importance and potential of these technologies and the need for significant investment in these areas. It is committed to making Europe a world-leader in AI, IoT and robotics. In order to achieve this goal, a clear and predictable legal framework addressing the technological challenges is required.

The overall objective of the safety and liability legal frameworks is to ensure that all products and services, including those integrating emerging digital technologies, operate safely, reliably and consistently and that damage having occurred is remedied efficiently. High levels of safety for products and systems integrating new digital technologies and robust mechanisms remedying occurred damage (i.e. the liability framework) contribute to better protect consumers. They also create trust in these technologies, a prerequisite for their uptake by industry and users. This in turn will leverage the competitiveness of our industry and contribute to the objectives of the Union. A clear safety and liability framework is particularly important when new technologies like AI, the IoT and robotics emerge, both with a view to ensure consumer protection and legal certainty for businesses.

The Union has a robust and reliable safety and product liability regulatory framework and a robust body of safety standards, complemented by national, non-harmonised liability legislation. Together, they ensure the well-being of our citizens in the Single Market and encourage innovation and technological uptake. However, AI, the IoT and robotics are transforming the characteristics of many products and services.

The Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe , adopted on 25 April 2018, announced that the Commission would submit a report assessing the implications of the emerging digital technologies on the existing safety and liability frameworks. This report aims to identify and examine the broader implications for and potential gaps in the liability and safety frameworks for AI, the IoT and robotics. The orientations provided in this report accompanying the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence are provided for discussion and are part of the broader consultation of stakeholders. The safety section builds on the evaluation of the Machinery Directive7 and the work with the relevant expert groups. The liability section builds on the evaluation of the Product Liability Directive, the input of the relevant experts groups and contacts with stakeholders. This report does not aim to provide an exhaustive overview of the existing rules for safety and liability, but focuses on the key issues identified so far.

Source: Report on the safety and liability implications of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics. 2020. European Commission

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