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Artificial Intelligence: Ensuring respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law


Artificial Intelligence has become a determining factor for the future of humanity as it continues to substantially transform individual lives and impact human communities.

Artificial Intelligence brings both opportunities and challenges. It is therefore of utmost importance to strike the right balance between mitigating the risks and making full use of the advantages that Artificial Intelligence can offer in promoting a better life for all. The work of the Parliamentary Assembly goes exactly in this direction.


What does the Assembly call for?

The Assembly strongly believes that there is a need to create a cross-cutting regulatory framework for AI, with specific principles based on the protection of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

PACE endorsed a set of basic ethical principles that should be respected when developing and implementing AI applications.

These principles, which are further elaborated in a common appendix to the reports, are transparency, justice and fairness, human responsibility for decisions, safety and security and privacy and data protection.

However, the Assembly considers that self-regulatory ethical principles and policies voluntarily introduced by private actors are not adequate and sufficient tools to regulate AI.

In each of the situations examined in its reports, the Assembly concludes that legal regulation will be necessary in order to avoid or minimise the potential risks to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The various resolutions propose sets of focused measures that national authorities should implement in order to achieve this goal.

What does this mean for the Council of Europe?

While supporting the work of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI), the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to elaborate a “legally binding instrument governing artificial intelligence [that is] based on a comprehensive approach, deals with the whole life cycle of AI-based systems, is addressed to all stakeholders, and includes mechanisms to ensure the implementation of this instrument".

Council of Europe page on artificial intelligence

What does this mean for the member States and the national parliaments?

The Assembly’s resolutions contain practical proposals to national parliaments and other authorities.

These are intended to ensure that AI is used in a way that respects Council of Europe’s common standards on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

They include adopting national legislation, ensuring that there is a legal basis for the use of AI applications by public authorities, consulting the public on the introduction of AI applications in certain sectors, conducting human rights impact assessments prior to the introduction of AI applications and establishing national registers of AI applications being used by public authorities.

The Assembly calls on the national parliaments in particular to make the use of AI-based technologies a part of regular parliamentary debates and to require the government to notify the parliament before such technology is deployed.