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<html newsdate="2022-03-30">
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<title>Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act: Free Software is key!</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act: Free Software is key! </h1>
<p> In the effort of adopting digital policies aligned with
people's fundamental rights, the European Parliament is in the
process of finding a position on the legal framework for the
development and use of AI technologies. The FSFE is following this
process so Free Software is included, innovation is fostered,
control enhanced, and trust strengthened.
</p>
<p> It is clear that digital technologies are advancing at a fast
pace, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no exception. Technical
improvements, the accumulation of large, detailed datasets and
advancement in computer hardware have led to an AI revolution.
However, these technologies are a double-edged sword: they have
the potential to bring benefits to peoples' lives and to the
economy, but also to lead to harmful discrimination and human
rights violations. That is the reason we call attention to the
important role that Free Software plays in this regard. There is a
need for verifiable and trustworthy AI technologies, and Free
Software is crucial to achieve this. Our demands in this regard
are based on three pillars; innovation, control, and
trustworthiness. </p>
<figure>
<img
src="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/big/8da733c745bf00f13549c1eefae8e9d9.png"
alt="Typewriter with text that says Artificial Intelligence"/>
<figcaption>Photo credits: Cover: Markus Winkler from Unsplash / License: CC BY-SA 4.0.</figcaption>
</figure>
<h2 id="ai-released-under-a-free-software-license-fosters-innovation">AI released under a Free Software license fosters innovation</h2>
<p>The collaborative ecosystem that Free Software enhances is key
for the development of robust, accurate, and innovative AI
solutions. Researchers, scientists, and developers alike can focus
on creating new and better AI software if they can reproduce
existing work. This reproducibility is doable thanks to the
freedoms that Free Software offers (to use, to study, to improve,
to share) and constitutes the heart of the scientific process: the
creation of new knowledge from what already exists. Not to
mention the advantages that this collaborative ecosystem can have
in interoperability and cost savings.</p>
<blockquote><em> "We have already seen how global problems require
global solutions. Thanks to Free Software, existing solutions in one
country can be adopted in another one which saves duplication of work
and time, while it enables a higher auditability and inspection of the
source code"</em>, says Lina Ceballos, FSFE Policy Project
Manager.</blockquote>
<h2 id="free-software-enhances-control-over-ai">Free Software enhances control over AI</h2>
<p>Understanding the factors that lead to predictions in AI
technologies is important not only for transparency but also
for further improvement. Free Software allows everyone to run and test
the AI to understand how it works and to identify potential risks that
can be fixed if the four freedoms are granted. The right to improve
the software is closely related to the avoidance of vendor lock-in.
This means a boost in Europe&#39;s innovation capacity and
competitiveness in this field. </p>
<blockquote><em> "From self-driving cars to predictive policing
to healthcare - we need to stay in control of technology. The
four freedoms of Free Software help enhancing the auditability on
the AI, thus it allows us to have control over it"</em>, adds
Alexander Sander, FSFE Policy Consultant.</blockquote>
<h2 id="free-software-strengthens-trust-in-ai-technologies">Free Software strengthens trust on AI technologies</h2>
<p>AI predictions are subject to errors, which can sometimes even
violate fundamental rights. By putting the AI under the
oversight of everyone, these perils can be identified and fixed,
thus having a positive impact on the trustworthiness of the AI.
Trust will enhance the promotion and uptake of these technologies.
The freedoms granted by Free Software lay the groundwork for an
ecosystem in which acknowledging the potential of AI and control
over it can converge. </p>
<blockquote>Lina Ceballos explains <em>"In decision-making processes
led by AI, human oversight is highly critical. This auditability is
viable if people have the right to use, study, share, and improve the
software. In this regard, the openness that Free Software offers is
crucial in the development of AI technologies and their compliance
with fundamental rights obligations". </em></blockquote>
<h2 id="fsfe-s-involvement-in-the-european-legislative-process-of-ai-technologies">FSFE&#39;s involvement in the European legislative process of AI Technologies</h2>
<p>Already for five years, the FSFE has been demanding with its <a
href="https://publiccode.eu/">Public Money? Public Code!</a>
initiative that publicly financed software must be made publicly
available under a Free Software licence. Publicly financed AI
technologies also fall under this scope. </p>
<p>We are requiring that public procurement, as well as in-house
development, encourage Free Software AI and digital solutions to be
used in the public but also private sector. Therefore, public
authorities using AI systems should make them publicly available.
These demands also apply to public research and public institutions
inventing, using, or procuring AI systems.</p>
<p>Thus, with the intention of bringing our demands into the
discussion in the European legislative process, we have prepared a
<a
href="https://download.fsfe.org/campaigns/AIandFS/fsfe_AIandFreesoftware.pdf">dedicated
document for decision-makers, with more elaborated arguments on the
use of Free Software in AI technologies</a>, which highlights the
benefits that Free Software can offer to this crucial regulation.
</p>
<p>AI technologies are showing us already the potential that they have
to become an important aspect of our daily lives. Therefore a
well-thought-out AI legislation that acknowledges the advantages of
Free Software is needed. This set of rules will define the framework
in which AI technologies can be used and developed. Thereby Europe
can become fit for the digital age without undermining our ability to
control technology.</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="AI">AI</tag>
<tag key="pmpc">Public Money? Public Code!</tag>
<tag key="public-administration">Public Administration</tag>
<tag key="procurement">Public Procurement</tag>
</tags>
<discussion href="https://community.fsfe.org/t/824"/>
<image url="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/big/8da733c745bf00f13549c1eefae8e9d9.png" alt="Typewriter with text that says Artificial Intelligence"/>
</html>