Towards European AI standards: CENELEC’s President spoke at the European Big Data Forum  

CENELEC’s President Dr Bernhard Thies spoke on Monday 12 November at the European Big Data Value Forum in Vienna. The Forum, which is taking place from 12 to 14 November in the Austrian capital, is a key European event for industry professionals, business developers, researchers, and policy makers to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the European data economy and data-driven innovation in Europe. Dr Thies spoke at the session ‘Landscape of AI standards’, dedicated to analysing how standardization can contribute to building trust and efficiency in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry in Europe, while ensuring sustained industry competitiveness.

Indeed, in the context of the fourth industrial revolution, driven by new digital technologies, AI is progressing rapidly. AI deeply affects the industry in the fields of automation, data management, and the integration of smart technology, changing the way businesses operate in a variety of sectors. The European Commission recently published a Communication on Artificial Intelligence - COM(2018) 237 – acknowledging the new risks and opportunities brought about by technological developments and dealing with the deployment, interoperability, scalability, societal acceptability/concerns, safety and liability of AI. In order to allow for the successful deployment of AI, standardization has a key role to play: it can help to ensure safety and reduce risks, thus increasing trust in the new technologies.

During his presentation, Dr Thies brought forward the European perspective on standardization for the AI. Artificial intelligence has been at the centre of the recent Stakeholders Workshop ‘Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence – building a framework with standardization’, held in Brussels on 18 September 2018. The workshop was an occasion for in-depth reflection on the priorities of European standardization on the AI. What emerged from the debate across a wide array of stakeholders was that standardization can provide value by facilitating interoperability, mitigating risks and defining a framework for transparency, thus ensuring trust. Workshop participants agreed that European Standards are essential to position Europe as a frontrunner on Artificial Intelligence.

Based on the needs that emerged during the Workshop, CEN and CENELEC are taking further steps in the field of AI. The first one of these steps consists of the creation of a CEN-CENELEC Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence. The main objectives of the Focus Group will be identifying the CEN and CENELEC Technical Committees that will be impacted by AI and Big Data technologies; acting as a focal point for them and for the European Commission; identifying specific standardization needs for AI; liaising with the European Commission’s AI HLEG; and encouraging strengthened European participation in the ISO and IEC’s Technical Committees working on AI.

The role of standardization in fostering AI will also be at the centre of the joint OECD-EC conference 'IoT, AI and product safety', which will be held on 14 November 2018 in the framework of the International Product Safety Week (12-16 November). CEN and CENELEC’s Cinzia Missiroli will be present as a speaker in Session 3 on 'IoT and AI challenges for product safety'.

For more information, please contact Samira Nik