Threats and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence

ECR Party Europa Viva Conference - May 18, 2024

How should Europe deal with the transformation of society brought about by Artificial Intelligence? This is one of the questions that the panellists will try to answer at the panel ‘AI transforms our societies, adapt and improve or be left behind’ to be held on Saturday 18 May at 18:00 at the EUROPAVIVA24 event, the great convention of European patriots organised by VOX and the European Conservatives and Reformists Party.

The panel, which will be moderated by Italian journalist and TV presenter Elisabetta Migliorelli, will feature Marta Schifone, Italian MP; Aurelijus Veryga, Lithuanian MP; Pavel Žáček, Czech MP; and Pedro Narro, VOX’s Spanish candidate for the European elections.

The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence in recent years has generated reticence and different debates in society: will Artificial Intelligence destroy our jobs, will machines replace humans in the future? Regardless of the plausibility or otherwise of these potential consequences, the principle that conservatives should defend in matters related to technological development and Artificial Intelligence is, first and foremost, prudence.

Technology, especially when managed by people with bad intentions, can pose a great threat to human beings. We have seen this with the misuse of nuclear energy, or with the development of biological weapons. But technology can also represent great opportunities for human beings. Technology can help us to develop improvements for the population, or to advance in fields ranging from medicine to education, among many other things. In short, as Peruvian academic Miklos Lucaks points out in his work ‘Neo entes’, humans should have ‘a balanced view of technology, morally neutral, depending on the goodness or badness of the hands that use it’.

Within this framework, the European Union faces the challenge of knowing how to adopt the improvements and innovations that Artificial Intelligence can offer its citizens, while at the same time being aware of the power that these tools can adopt in the ‘wrong hands’ and therefore developing all the legislation and controls that are necessary to protect European citizens from the threats that technology can represent.

We will see further progress on this issue in the coming months. Recently the Council of Europe, an organisation representing 46 European countries, 27 of which are members of the European Union, adopted the first binding international treaty to regulate AI. This decision was taken after two years of negotiations and internal discussions, especially on all issues related to human rights or national security.

This agreement, as indicated by the Council, ‘is also open to non-European countries’ and ‘establishes a legal framework that applies to the entire lifecycle of AI systems and focuses on the risks it may entail, while promoting responsible innovation’.

The next European Parliament, resulting from the elections to be held from 6 to 9 June 2024, will be in charge of developing and fine-tuning all legislation related to Artificial Intelligence. A Parliament in which, according to all the polls, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group will play a very important role and in which Conservative MEPs will have to act responsibly and prudently to take advantage of the benefits that technology offers and at the same time protect European citizens from the threats that it may pose.