“It’s time for a values-driven tech governance” Talk Europe! with Marietje Schaake

“It’s time for a values-driven tech governance” Talk Europe! with Marietje Schaake


Technology is everywhere. There is a competition globally
for who can set the standards. We see a very market-driven
model in the United States, a very state-driven
model in China. The stakes are high, the speed is high,
so Europe has to double down. So it is important that we look
beyond our borders and see how standards are set
through regulation, but also through how technology
is built, designed and works itself. Why will norms and standards
be the silver bullet of tomorrow’s EU in the world? I don’t think we need new rules
and new norms and new laws, but we do have to make sure
that laws that we agree on, principles that we care about,
the democracy that we cherish is also preserved when there
is technological disruption. So think about principles like
freedom of expression or exceptions to
the freedom of expression. There are a lot of freedoms that are
actually not controversial. And so we have to make sure that
those rights apply online and that in new areas like,
for example, the escalation of conflict, that is increasingly digital,
that we have efforts to de-escalate. To make sure that there are
some norms and some principles between countries that agree,
between maybe companies that agree, to make sure that we don’t see
the law of the jungle prevailing. What should Europe do
to become the world leader in governing technology globally? So we often hear people celebrating
the fact that Europe is a “super-regulator”. Data protection rules
or net neutrality rules, cyber security law – ways in which
the rights that we care about, the values and the fundamental
freedoms of people are preserved also in the digital domain. Artificial intelligence is
a technology that affects every dimension of human life. How can we ensure that it actually
benefits the humans in our societies? One of the core questions I believe
we need to answer is: How much risk are we willing to take? How much responsibility are we willing
to outsource to algorithms and systems that have no people
looking at them from A to Z? The machine learning and
the algorithms can come up with their own solutions. Do we want a society
where these programs tell us everything
we need to know? Or do we really want to put
human beings at the heart of democracy, at the heart of the public service? Can digital technology help us
overcome human rights violations and monitor them? Well, I think it’s very important
that human rights lawyers are focussing on technology and working
towards making it serve justice. There are other questions about justice
of how technologies might discriminate. Ethnic minorities that have seen
real big mistakes in machine learning and artificial intelligence programmes,
but also women who have been excluded of high-rank processes that were
driven by artificial intelligence. The principle that we want
to preserve is justice and close to that
is also accountability. If somebody violates the law,
whether it’s a person or a machine, there should be accountability.

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