Sep 2019

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EU sets guidelines for ethical AI, pilot phase to launch this summer

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | May 2019

According to a Global Trends Study in 2017, the insurance industry invests an average of $124m per company in AI – that is $54m more than the average across all the industries surveyed. Insurers obviously see the potential for AI to influence things such as customer loyalty, fraud prevention and claims experience positively.
Having so much riding on AI, a recent significant development should pique the interests of the insurance industry. Less than a week after Google disbanded its newly-formed AI ethics board amid controversy on the makeup of the team, the EU released a set of guidelines for developing and applying AI technologies in an ethical way.
The latest guidelines build further on a draft set of rules which the EU released last December, and contain seven key requirements for ethical AI, namely:
  • Human agency and oversight: AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy.
  • Robustness and safety: Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems.
  • Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.
  • Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured.
  • Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility.
  • Societal and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility.
  • Accountability: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes.
The next step is to see how the draft guidelines operate in a large-scale pilot with a wide range of stakeholders, including companies and government organisations from outside the EU. The pilot is aimed at “building trust in human-centric artificial intelligence”, said the EU in its statement.
The European Commission plans to launch the pilot this summer and has asked companies, public bodies and organisations to sign up to its forum on AI – the European AI Alliance.
The pilot will consist of two parts: (1) a piloting phase for the guidelines involving stakeholders who develop or use AI, including public administrations, and (2) a continued stakeholder consultation and awareness-raising process across member states and different groups of stakeholders, including industry and service sectors.
With the insurance sector being the largest investor in AI technology, insurers from within and outside of Europe should step up and work alongside the EU and other stakeholders towards a more ethical and secure future for AI technology. M 
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