Why a Civic EU Artificial Intelligence?

Can Artificial Intelligence be used to strengthen democracy? What is the role of public institutions in achieving this goal?

Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT has sparked widespread discussions about Artificial Intelligence, permeating media and public discourse. Views on AI range from optimism about its potential for scientific and societal advancement to concerns about its potential dystopian implications.

However, it's essential to recognize that AI is not merely a futuristic concept of humanoid robots dominating humanity, nor is it solely a collection of tools designed to streamline daily tasks. It constitutes a complex and integral value chain, serving as the lens through which humanity interprets reality.

AI manifests concretely through physical infrastructures such as firms, ICTs, servers, and the Internet of Things, enabling its production and functionality. Furthermore, it actively shapes reality by facilitating machine learning processes to enhance understanding and decision-making.

Yet, this technological advancement comes with significant challenges. Scholars and activists have highlighted the risks associated with AI, including data privacy infringements, cyber warfare, and the perpetuation of societal inequalities through biased datasets and algorithmic flaws.

The proliferation of fake news and misinformation is of particular concern, undermining democratic principles by distorting public opinion. These issues threaten the fundamental values upheld by the European Union and its member states.

While the EU has taken steps to address these challenges through policies like the EU AI Act, more proactive measures are necessary to consider AI as a public service. It's imperative not only to advocate for a human-centric approach to AI, one that prioritizes transparency, individual rights, and democracy but also to invest adequate funds to concretely build systems that implement public interest and citizens' empowerment, having European democracy at their core. 

As proponents of this vision, we call for the development of AI systems that are open-source, accessible, and subject to rigorous scrutiny, which should enable everyone to interact easily and could facilitate popular participation (resolutions, laws, referendums, civic assemblies drawn by lot, petitions, etc.). Preserving democracy in the digital age requires the alignment of technological development with human values. Our initiative, the open letter to the EU institutions for a Civic European Artificial Intelligence, seeks to advance this goal.

Join us in advocating for a future where AI serves the common good and sign our petition for a citizen-empowerment approach to Artificial Intelligence! Together, we can shape a future where technology enhances, rather than undermines, our shared values and freedoms.