November 8, 2021

Webinar Recap: Edge-AI and secure data protection and privacy – an Industry Perspective

On 28 October 2021 members of the European Parliament and Industry came together for the 2nd episode in Xperi’s ‘The EU AI Act – an Industry Perspective’ series.

Co-hosted by Seán Kelly MEP, Ireland South, and Dr. Petronel Bigioi, CTO at Xperi this episode looked at how AI at the ‘edge’ and ‘Privacy by Design’ are fundamental to protecting the rights of citizens and how, if regulated appropriately, will lead to a new era of innovation in Europe.

Moderated by Prof. Barry O’Sullivan, of University College Cork and Vice-Chair of High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence from 2018 to 2020, the online audience was joined by Dr. Philippe Dreuw, Chief Product Manager, Interior Monitoring Systems at Bosch and Alessandra Sala, Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Shutterstock and Global President of Women in AI.

The event started with introductions from Dr. Petro Bigioi and Seán Kelly before Prof. O’Sullivan gave a recap of the discussions in the previous episode. Following this recap Dr. Philippe Dreuw and Alessandra Sala spoke about their respective viewpoints and experiences and also took questions from the audience.

During his intervention, Mr. Kelly highlighted that “Innovation is at the heart of the EU. AI and other technological advancements present many opportunities for our citizens and businesses. However, AI is not without its potential risks, and it is important to face these risks head on now in order to mitigate them.”

Prof. O’Sullivan also highlighted that “We need to be clear about what AI is”, going on to explain “… it’s interesting that the AI act, in the sense, would apply to code that’s generated by AI, but not code that’s generated necessarily by human beings. You can have the same system that has the same risks, but because one was built with AI and maybe completely equivalent one was not. This act will apply to one of them but not both, and that seems a little odd.”

Ms. Sala talked in depth about how Shutterstock are using AI within their business, always ensuring that they are meticulous in the application of the compliance and regulatory framework they have built up over the last 20 years in support of their users, contributors and customers. In talking about the Act itself and answering a question about if a risk-based approach would be good for innovation, Ms. Sala summarized her thoughts by saying “The risk-based approach defined in the current proposal is a promising direction and a regulation that is meant to protect fundamental rights, which we all believe in. At the same time, new ideas for continuing to promote industrial investment and agile innovation could be taken into consideration. For example, trial period, assessment of trade-off between benefit and risk, and what we have just defined as collective intelligence, a systematic protocol to share newly discovered risk.”

Turning to Dr. Dreuw, he spoke about how the automotive sector has been using AI for many years already and is already bound by strict regulatory requirements, particularly with regards to safety. This sector is keen to ensure that new regulations do not unwittingly duplicate what is already in place, meaning that industry has increased costs and processes to deal with. He stated “… that’s why I think the simple risk-based approach is in principle welcome. We also welcome initiative in general. But, as also said before, this needs to be nuanced, otherwise the whole automotive sector becomes a high-risk sector, and we might be over-regulated in comparison to other sectors.”

In closing the panel discussion Prof. O’Sullivan asked the speakers to directly address the members of the European Parliament in the audience with what they would like to see focused on in the regulation.

Dr. Dreuw began by sayingMy wish is really to the members that the existing assessments, which are measurable and comparable, that they are rather extended rather than duplicated so that we bring in AI regulations into existing norms or processes … there are a lot of existing frameworks …, which should be also harmonized with these approaches. Then rather than duplicating, bring it into existing framework. That’s one thing. Then to further nuance this risk-based approach, maybe looking more towards the safety relevant aspects. So, what’s the end risk of the human being? Is there a physical risk or is there are maybe… not that you lose too much potential that you slow down innovation too much.” He then offered up the suggestion that “… instead of thinking always about penalties and risk, to think more about potentials or an awarding program. Like the Euro-NCAP, for example, which awards rather than penalizes. This might be also one idea because in the end there must be some value to do this. It should be comparable, measurable in order to drive competition. And in the end, there should be some value that we should do this and even more than.”

Ms. Sala gave her thoughts around the need for a continued focus on clarity and the need for an agile and simple framework to be in place. She ended by saying “… Europe is rich of small scale industry. They are agile and they need to be rewarded and supported. I really love that idea from Philippe. Those industry have an opportunity to provide new idea, to experiment a new idea and possibly to be rewarded in going through the new direction or innovative direction.”

To close off the event, Dr. Bigioi returned to give his closing remarks. He reiterated his request from the opening of the seminar, being that “… as the Commission and the Parliament continues to refine the draft regulation to ensure there is a clear part to understand the interdependence is complex in the existing sector regulation and there aren’t any additional burdens placed on the industry. That the categorization of what constitutes an AI is designated to ensure that low risk application are indeed identified and treated as low risk, and that the compliance reading is proportionally at the level of risk.”

You can view the full webinar here.

Back to Stories