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Artificial intelligence and labour markets: friend or foe

Reply to Recommendation | Doc. 15325 | 21 June 2021

Committee of Ministers
Adopted at the 1407th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (16 June 2021). 2021 - Third part-session
Reply to Recommendation
: Recommendation 2186 (2020)
1. The Committee of Ministers has carefully examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2186 (2020) on “Artificial intelligence and labour markets: friend or foe?”. It has forwarded it to the European Social Cohesion Platform (PECS), to the Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI), to the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) and to the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter and the European Code of Social Security for information and possible comments.
2. The Committee of Ministers fully acknowledges the ever-increasing importance of digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), and for the Council of Europe to take action to protect and promote human rights in the rapidly changing digital area. It welcomes the extensive work that the Assembly is carrying out in this field.
3. The Committee of Ministers underlines that AI can have both a positive and negative impact on social rights, as in many other areas. It can deliver benefits and promote sustainable change, though it also raises questions and new challenges from the perspective of jobs and labour markets, as the use of AI may lead to an increase in unemployment, lower wages and displacement in certain sectors and transformation of the labour market as such. It is important that States promote the use AI and benefit from its contribution to human well-being and economic and social development, in full respect of human dignity, equality and non-discrimination and ensuring the protection of workers.
4. In its recommendation, the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to launch the preparation of a comprehensive European legal instrument on AI, which would also cover the need for enhanced protection of work-related social rights.
5. In this regard, the Committee of Ministers recalls that its Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) has already carried out substantive work in view of the possible elaboration of a legal framework for the development, design and application of artificial intelligence based on the Council of Europe’s standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This work will continue in the coming year. In its work, the CAHAI is also considering the impact of artificial intelligence in the area of social and economic rights and has received the various Parliamentary Assembly recommendations which are of relevance to this issue for due consideration.
6. The Committee of Ministers would also underline that the Revised European Social Charter, which guarantees a wide and comprehensive set of labour rights, provides a dynamic framework to address these issues.
7. Finally, the Committee of Ministers would draw attention to the relevance in this context of its Declaration on the risks of computer-assisted or artificial-intelligence-enabled decision making in the field of the social safety net, adopted on 17 March 2021.