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July 1 — Spain assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and a spotlight was thrown on Madrid. Every six months, a different European Union (EU) member state ascends to this role, allowing capitals to provide their unique strategic advice, shaping the work of the Council of the EU - a key decision-making body. This particular term, led by Spain, will shape the latest in technology: regulating artificial intelligence (AI) and creating trustworthy digital governance frameworks.
Europe is at the centre of many of today’s geopolitical challenges and opportunities. Under Spain’s leadership, debates will focus on making the EU a place where innovation blooms and a human-centred digital transformation is embraced. As we enter the age of AI, the EU is working to develop a strategic framework that promotes trust, transparency, and accountability, while ensuring fundamental rights and safety. At the epicenter of these discussions lies the world’s first comprehensive AI regulation, the EU AI Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation currently under debate. Madrid has made finalising this legislation a top priority of its Presidency. These next months, under Spain’s helm, the Presidency will not only shape the EU's approach to AI, but also contribute to the broader global discourse on digital, human-centric, trusted governance.
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The Spanish Presidency will be tasked with fostering AI regulation dialogue around how to address the ethical, legal, and societal ramifications, as well as foster the creation of a framework that will nurture trust and promote responsible and human-centred use of AI technologies.
Spain is no stranger to AI. The Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence supports the deployment of new technologies while ensuring that the social and ethical challenges of Spain's digital transformation are human-centred. One of its landmarks is the Digital Rights Charter, a pioneering framework that safeguards citizens' rights in the digital arena and promotes a humanistic online environment. The Charter, which is part of the National AI Strategy, serves as a global reference for trustworthy, human-centric AI frameworks.
AI has the potential to drive unprecedented levels of innovation, economic growth, and societal progress; however, regulating AI is crucial to ensure that this transformative technology embeds ethical guidelines for creating trustworthy and human-centric systems.
Spain will also be the host of three new institutions responsible for overseeing AI: the European Center for Algorithmic Transparency, the EU's first AI Sandbox, and the Spanish Artificial Intelligence Supervisory Agency. In addition, the recently-adopted Ibero-American Charter of Principles and Digital Rights further highlights Spain's global commitment.
AI has the potential to drive unprecedented levels of innovation, economic growth, and societal progress; however, regulating AI is crucial to ensure that this transformative technology embeds ethical guidelines for creating trustworthy and human-centric systems. Now more than ever, as generative AI has entered the equation.
As we enter into an Al-driven future, international partnerships among like-minded stakeholders are essential to continue building an inclusive and sustainable future. Currently, there are important international initiatives aiming to develop common governance frameworks. The OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence serve as a cornerstone for fostering AI that is not only innovative but also embodies trust, respect for human rights, and democratic values. The G7 Hiroshima process has emphasised the significance of establishing international norms that promote trust in AI systems. And, the EU and the U.S. have announced they are jointly working on a global voluntary Code of Conduct on Generative AI.
As AI continues to transform the world, it is critical to guarantee that this powerful technology is created and implemented responsibly, protecting the values we believe in. Multilateral and consensus-driven initiatives can contribute to the creation of more permanent, robust, and interoperable AI norms by defining a common approach to definitions and obligations.
Organisations that develop and deploy artificial intelligence also have a role to play. At Salesforce, we recognise the transformative power of the technologies we create and their role in being a platform for change. We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane design of technology and fostering an AI-driven future that upholds fairness, transparency, and inclusivity.
When we embarked on our AI journey, we developed our Principles of Trusted AI to ensure our technology is safe and inclusive for all. However, with the emergence of generative AI, we took a step further and developed our Guidelines for Trusted and Responsible Generative AI:
- Accuracy: to be transparent on how the technology provides its answer and ensures human involvement
- Safety: to mitigate bias, and harmful output by conducting explainability, robustness assessments, and red teaming (a form of evaluation that elicits model vulnerabilities that might lead to undesirable behaviours)
- Honesty: to uphold robust data provenance when training models
- Empowerment: to ensure fair and accessible technology to all
- Sustainability: to respect our planet while embracing innovation
Salesforce is committed to embracing the next generation of trusted AI while adhering to our core values of true trust, security, privacy, scale, and ethics.
During its Presidency, Spain has the opportunity to solidify the EU’s position as a global standard-setter and AI leader. As the technology evolves and regulations take shape, Salesforce encourages policymakers to embrace frameworks that are risk-based, fair, transparent, safe, and human-centric. By working together, the future will be bright.
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Progress in AI has been such that, in some areas, its output has become indistinguishable from that of humans. These rapid developments, combined with the falling costs of producing and adopting these new technologies, suggest that OECD economies may be on the cusp of an AI revolution which could fundamentally change the workplace. While there are many potential benefits from AI, there are also significant risks that need to be urgently addressed. Policies and social dialogue can play a key role in mitigating these risks while not stifling the benefits. However, this requires better evidence, and the 2023 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook contributes to this goal.
And learn more about OECD AI Policy Observatory