Europe Lays Down an AI Marker

The EU Commission’s AI proposal recognizes the importance of data governance and stewardship. Other countries may follow its lead.

Douglas J. Elliott, Lisa Quest, Larissa De Lima, Ana Kreacic, Lorenzo Miláns del Bosch
Douglas J.
Partner, Oliver Wyman
Doug is a Partner who focuses on the intersection of public policy and finance. He meets with hundreds of senior policymakers and executives each year to explore the future of the financial sector. These conversations fuel numerous papers and speeches. He is fascinated by the role of data in transforming finance and is an evangelist for the importance of devising rules of the road for data usage that spur innovation while protecting rights and balancing other social objectives. Prior to Oliver Wyman, he was a Scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Visiting Scholar at the International Monetary Fund, and a financial institutions investment banker. He graduated from Harvard College and Duke University.
Douglas.Elliott@oliverwyman.com
Lisa
Partner, Oliver Wyman
Lisa is a Partner and Co-Head of Anti-Financial Crime for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who advises senior government officials on a broad range of issues, including regulation and supervision, organizational design and effectiveness. She has significant experience working with data in public sector transformational change and is fascinated by the ways it can be used to predict behavior and to build previously unimaginable new infrastructure. Lisa is also an Academic Fellow with the London School of Economics Centre for Risk and Regulation, focusing on the development of technology regulation. She is an active triathlete and on the board of the Best Beginning charity. She graduated from Western University and the London School of Economics.
Lisa.Quest@oliverwyman.com
Larissa
Fellow, Oliver Wyman Forum
Larissa is a Fellow with the Oliver Wyman Forum, focused on the Future of Data. Prior to joining the Forum, she worked as a consultant for Oliver Wyman where she advised financial services clients on adapting to technological and regulatory change. She’s an avid reader and enjoys writing speculative fiction short stories. Larissa has an MPP and MBA from Harvard. While pursuing her BA in computer science, she conducted research in artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience.
larissa.delima@oliverwyman.com
Ana
Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Wyman Forum; Partner, Chief Knowledge Officer, Oliver Wyman
Ana is the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Oliver Wyman Group, the Chief Operating Officer of the Oliver Wyman Forum and a Co-leader of the New York office. She advises clients in areas of strategy, offer development, and new business start-ups. Ana’s work focuses on the opportunities, uncertainties, and challenges stemming from rapidly changing data and business landscapes. She regularly convenes senior leaders to explore these complicated issues. Ana also is passionate about education, mentoring, immigrant issues, and women’s advancement initiatives, and serves on multiple boards, including Upwardly Global and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from the University of Maryland and the Wharton School.
Ana.Kreacic@oliverwyman.com
Lorenzo
Partner, Oliver Wyman
Lorenzo has been a Partner with Oliver Wyman for 20 years, working in the telecommunications space. He has advised some of the world leading companies in strategy, marketing, and commercial and public policy topics. Working on numerous big data and artificial intelligence-related projects has shown Lorenzo that data could be an asset and driving force of transformation for companies. At the same time, data is at the core of numerous public policy discussions. Lorenzo wants to help find the proper and dynamic equilibrium between the potential of data to create economic value and social wealth, on the one hand, and individual rights to privacy and identity, on the other. Before joining Oliver Wyman, Lorenzo was a Director with the National Economic Research Associates. Lorenzo is an avid reader of philosophy and mathematics and an ever-learning aficionado of jazz guitar. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and a MSc in innovation management.
Lorenzo.MilansDelBosch@oliverwyman.com

The European Union once again is leading the world on issues around data rights. In its first big initiative on artificial intelligence, the European Commission on Feb. 19 released a 26-page white paper on developing and regulating the critical technology. It could take years for the proposal to become law, but it could influence legislation in many countries around the world.

The Commission, the EU’s Brussels-based executive, hopes the new strategy framework will help the 27-nation bloc keep pace with the US and China while protecting individuals from potential abuses.

“We want citizens to trust the new technology,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who underscored the urgency of AI for Europe by demanding that a strategy be adopted within 100 days of her team taking office last December. “This is why we are promoting a responsible, human-centered approach to artificial intelligence.”

The Commission is taking a page from its strategy playbook on data privacy, where its 2018 General Data Protection Regulation set out principles that other jurisdictions, like California, have followed at least in part. Whatever you think about the new AI proposal, it too is likely to influence what happens globally. Further, foreign companies operating in Europe will also have to abide by the EU’s approach when there’s a European AI connection.

There are still many details to flesh out. The Commission is putting its proposal out for public consultation, and expects to propose specific legislation before the end of the year. Getting anything on the books will likely take much longer. It took six years for the EU to turn its initial proposal for the GDPR into an enforceable statute.

The Oliver Wyman Forum agrees that there should be broad principles of best practices around data governance and stewardship. We think that’s crucial for ensuring the Future of Data benefits society as a whole. Human oversight is important for gaining the economic benefits from AI technologies while preserving individuals’ safety and privacy.

Getting the data framework right is particularly critical for AI. You can’t judge an AI system without knowing the data fueling it. Biased data means biased AI.

The EU proposal takes some steps in this direction.

It begins with a risk-based approach. As Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice president who is leading the Commission’s work on AI, put it, using facial recognition to unlock your smartphone is very different from using the technology to monitor people in public spaces. In considering new regulations, the Commission will focus on sensitive applications in sectors like recruitment, health care and law enforcement, and calls for AI systems to be transparent and supervised by people.

The Commission paper also addresses the importance of good data in developing trustworthy AI applications. Information used in AI systems should comply with existing EU rules like the GDPR. The Commission paper also calls for developers to document the data they use in sensitive applications, as well as their training and testing methodologies. 

The Commission also recognizes that artificial intelligence is a critical technology for future economic development. The paper sets a target of attracting annual investment of 20 billion euros, or nearly $22 billion, into AI development over the next decade. That is a significant sum. It will be interesting to see if it helps Europe catch up with the US and China.

Douglas J. Elliott

Partner, Oliver Wyman

Doug is a Partner who focuses on the intersection of public policy and finance. He meets with hundreds of senior policymakers and executives each year to explore the future of the financial sector. These conversations fuel numerous papers and speeches. He is fascinated by the role of data in transforming finance and is an evangelist for the importance of devising rules of the road for data usage that spur innovation while protecting rights and balancing other social objectives. Prior to Oliver Wyman, he was a Scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Visiting Scholar at the International Monetary Fund, and a financial institutions investment banker. He graduated from Harvard College and Duke University.

Lisa Quest

Partner, Oliver Wyman

Lisa is a Partner and Co-Head of Anti-Financial Crime for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who advises senior government officials on a broad range of issues, including regulation and supervision, organizational design and effectiveness. She has significant experience working with data in public sector transformational change and is fascinated by the ways it can be used to predict behavior and to build previously unimaginable new infrastructure. Lisa is also an Academic Fellow with the London School of Economics Centre for Risk and Regulation, focusing on the development of technology regulation. She is an active triathlete and on the board of the Best Beginning charity. She graduated from Western University and the London School of Economics.

Larissa De Lima

Fellow, Oliver Wyman Forum

Larissa is a Fellow with the Oliver Wyman Forum, focused on the Future of Data. Prior to joining the Forum, she worked as a consultant for Oliver Wyman where she advised financial services clients on adapting to technological and regulatory change. She’s an avid reader and enjoys writing speculative fiction short stories. Larissa has an MPP and MBA from Harvard. While pursuing her BA in computer science, she conducted research in artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience.

Ana Kreacic

Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Wyman Forum; Partner, Chief Knowledge Officer, Oliver Wyman

Ana is the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Oliver Wyman Group, the Chief Operating Officer of the Oliver Wyman Forum and a Co-leader of the New York office. She advises clients in areas of strategy, offer development, and new business start-ups. Ana’s work focuses on the opportunities, uncertainties, and challenges stemming from rapidly changing data and business landscapes. She regularly convenes senior leaders to explore these complicated issues. Ana also is passionate about education, mentoring, immigrant issues, and women’s advancement initiatives, and serves on multiple boards, including Upwardly Global and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from the University of Maryland and the Wharton School.

Lorenzo Miláns del Bosch

Partner, Oliver Wyman

Lorenzo has been a Partner with Oliver Wyman for 20 years, working in the telecommunications space. He has advised some of the world leading companies in strategy, marketing, and commercial and public policy topics. Working on numerous big data and artificial intelligence-related projects has shown Lorenzo that data could be an asset and driving force of transformation for companies. At the same time, data is at the core of numerous public policy discussions. Lorenzo wants to help find the proper and dynamic equilibrium between the potential of data to create economic value and social wealth, on the one hand, and individual rights to privacy and identity, on the other. Before joining Oliver Wyman, Lorenzo was a Director with the National Economic Research Associates. Lorenzo is an avid reader of philosophy and mathematics and an ever-learning aficionado of jazz guitar. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and a MSc in innovation management.