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Published on January 25th, 2017 | by Nick Wallace


EU’s Right to Explanation: A Harmful Restriction on Artificial Intelligence

Last September, a U.K. House of Commons committee concluded that it is too soon to regulate artificial intelligence (AI). Its recommendation comes too late: The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next year, includes a right to obtain an explanation of decisions made by algorithms and a right to opt-out of some algorithmic decisions altogether. These regulations do little to help consumers, but they will slow down the development and use of AI in Europe by holding developers to a standard that is often unnecessary and infeasible.

Read the full article in TechZone360

Image credit: Flickr user AZAdam

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About the Author

Nick Wallace

Nick Wallace is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation. He previously worked as a government technology policy analyst at Ovum, a global consultancy based in London. He has a master’s degree in public policy jointly awarded from the Central European University in Budapest and the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals and a bachelor’s degree in politics from Liverpool John Moores University. Wallace speaks English, Spanish, and German.

One Response to EU’s Right to Explanation: A Harmful Restriction on Artificial Intelligence

  1. The field of commercially applied AI most definitely requires both an ethical framework and the tools to adjudicate social, economic and personal impacts. Approaches used in the bio-medical domain are likely to provide good models. Unfortunately this policy making by the EU once again demonstrates a lack of even the most basic understanding of how sophisticated deep-learning/AI systems work. The very power of AI derives from a non-linear correlation between inputs and outputs. Increasingly even the engineers building these systems are unable to fully explain how outputs are derived. It is likely to be deeply unsettling to many to live in a world where generalized AI intermediates our lives but policy making based on flawed understanding of the technology being regulated is at best a waste of European tax payers Euros and at worst a distraction which misses the more important issues entirely.

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