15/06/2022 – The CULT Committee voted on the AI Act opinion this morning. MEPs agreed on an updated list of high-risk applications in the educational sector. E-proctoring systems used for monitoring and detecting prohibited behaviour of students during tests are now categorized as high-risk applications. Pirate Party MEP Marcel Kolaja, CULT Committee opinion rapporteur on the AI Act, welcomes these outcomes and warns that such systems can truly have a significant impact on a students’ future.
Marcel Kolaja, Czech Pirate Party Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament, explains:
„I think we can all agree that it makes a huge difference whether you pass the exam or not. Therefore, we cannot leave it up to technology without proper rules and assessments to decide and determine our lives.“
Kolaja further warns against discrimination: „While its name may suggest otherwise, artificial intelligence is far from perfect. It can discriminate students based on their gender or skin colour. If your skin is a bit darker than the type of skin that the dataset was trained on, it may falsely report that you are holding a dark object in your hands. The system then may automatically report you as a suspect of cheating. Those situations must be avoided.“
According to the results of today’s votes, the same rules should also apply for systems, which are used to predict what programs and areas of study students should follow.
„If the school decides to use these systems, we again have to ensure that they are considered high-risk and are properly assessed. As I said, artificial intelligence can be biased. And the last thing we need in today’s world is a technology, which will, for example, only recommend boys as suitable students for ICT,“ Kolaja concludes.
During the negotiations, the majority of shadows found article 5 out of the scope of the opinion. Hence it was decided to leave it completely to the main Committees to find the agreement.
On 24 April 2021, the European Commission published its legislative proposal laying down harmonized rules on artificial intelligence (AI Act), which introduces a regulatory framework with the objective of ensuring that AI systems placed on the European Union market are safe to use and respect fundamental rights. The AI Act is expected to be voted in plenary in November 2022.
Nikolaus Riss for German and English
Tomáš Polák for Czech and English