DigiCon III: Public Use of AI and Fundamental Rights Impact Assessment

On October 19, 2023, Mitisha Gaur had the pleasure of attending DigiCon III, a conference on digital transformation and innovation, in Florence, Italy. She attended as a panelist in the roundtable on the public use of AI and during her talk focused on fundamental rights impact assessment under the EU’s proposed AI Act.

The roundtable was a lively and informative discussion on the challenges and opportunities of using AI in the public sector. We discussed the importance of ensuring that AI systems are used in a way that respects fundamental rights, such as privacy, non-discrimination, and freedom of expression. We also discussed the need for robust impact assessment processes to identify and mitigate the potential risks of AI systems.

One of the key takeaways from the roundtable was that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fundamental rights impact assessment. The specific risks and impacts of AI systems will vary depending on the specific context in which they are used. However, there are some general principles that can be applied to all impact assessments.

First, it is important to involve a wide range of stakeholders in the impact assessment process. This includes people who will be affected by the AI system, as well as experts in relevant fields such as law, ethics, and technology. Second, it is important to consider all potential risks and impacts of the AI system, both positive and negative. This includes considering the impact on different groups of people, such as minorities and vulnerable groups. Third, the impact assessment should be conducted in a transparent and accountable manner. This means that the findings of the assessment should be made public and that stakeholders should have the opportunity to provide feedback.

The EU’s proposed AI Act is a significant step forward in the regulation of AI. The Act requires that all high-risk AI systems undergo a fundamental rights impact assessment. This is a positive development, as it will help to ensure that AI systems are used in a way that respects fundamental rights.

However, it is important to note that the AI Act is still in the proposal stage. It is important to ensure that the Act is implemented in a way that is effective and proportionate. It is also important to ensure that the Act does not stifle innovation or hinder the development of beneficial AI applications. There is shared optimism across the board about the future of AI in the public sector. AI has the potential to revolutionize the way that public services are delivered. However, it is important to use AI responsibly and ethically. The EU’s proposed AI Act is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to ensure that AI is used in a way that benefits all of society.