NEWS17 March 2022

‘GDPR moment’ looms for AI industry

AI Data analytics GDPR Impact 2022 News Privacy UK

UK – The artificial intelligence (AI) industry faces a “GDPR moment” as governments respond to concerns about the technology’s potential for unethical use, according to Ray Eitel-Porter, global lead for responsible AI at Accenture.

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Speaking at the Market Research Society’s Impact 2022 conference, Eitel-Porter discussed the rise of deepfakes – fake videos using AI to appear like real people are saying things they did not – and compared how the AI industry faced greater regulation.

The European Union has draft AI regulations on its agenda, which Eitel-Porter said could have a profound impact on the industry equivalent to that of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the use of personal data.

The proposed EU regulations, which were announced on 21st April 2021, will ban AI systems that are considered a “clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people” and will impose stricter rules on the use of biometrics, such as facial recognition.

Companies that fail to abide by the rules, should they be enacted, would face a fine of up to 6% of global turnover. The AI regulations are expected to be put in place within the next few years.

Eitel-Porter added: “Will we trust that the benefits that the benefits we gain from AI, such as personalised information or improved experiences, do not come at the cost of personal freedoms or our privacy?

“We should put ethical guardrails in place wherever AI is being used. These guardrails must cover the technology, process, people and data considerations as businesses move towards an ethical future while still capitalising on the real potential that AI has to offer.”

The issue is not the technology itself, Eitel-Porter added. “The problem isn’t actually deepfakes or other generative adversarial networks the AI use to make deepfakes. It is how the underlying technology, AI and data are used or applied. In this respect, the potential problem with the technology is very much a human one.”

Eitel-Porter also discussed the use of data, claiming that the algorithms used on social media was helping to create echo chambers, as people see more of the same content they previously interacted with.

He said 8% of people in the UK have such a select exposure to media that they now have a distorted view of reality.

“There are tools today that allow marketers to use social media to inform and influence the marketing materials they create on an unprecedented scale,” Eitel-Porter added.

“Marketing has also sought to influence segments of the population using knowledge gained from market research to do so. Data and analytics takes this to a new level.”