European Parliament adopts report on civil and military uses of AI

The European Parliament (EP) has adopted a report outlining guidelines for the military and non-military use of artificial intelligence (AI), under the title ‘Artificial intelligence: questions of interpretation and application of international law in so far as the EU is affected in the areas of civil and military uses and of state authority outside the scope of criminal justice’. The report tackles the issue of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS), emphasising that such systems should be used only as a last resort and are lawful only if they are subject to strict human control, with a human able to take over command at any time. Moreover, EP members (MEPs) called for an EU-wide strategy against LAWS and a ban on so-called ‘killer robots’. With regard to the civilian use of AI, MEPs urged member states to assess the risks related to AI-driven technologies before automating activities connected with the exercise of state authority, such as the administration of justice. They also invites the European Commission to assess the consequences of a moratorium on the use of facial recognition systems, and to consider a moratorium on the use of these systems in public spaces by public authorities and in premises meant for education and healthcare, as well as on their use by law enforcement authorities in semi-public spaces such as airports. The moratorium would be in place until the technical standards can be considered fully fundamental rights-compliant, the results derived are non-biased and non-discriminatory, and there are strict safeguards against misuse that ensure the necessity and proportionality of using such technologies.