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01 February 2021

Artificial intelligence & its potential impact

Artificial intelligence (AI) already plays a role in many decisions that affect our daily lives. From deciding what unemployment benefits someone gets to where a burglary is likely to take place. But we need to make sure to fully uphold fundamental rights standards when using AI. Drawing on the ‘Getting the future right – Artificial intelligence and fundamental rights’ report, FRA explores the potential benefits and possible errors that can occur focusing on four core areas – social benefits, predictive policing, health services and targeted advertising.

Artificial intelligence & its potential impact

Social benefits

Potential benefits
  • Better access to social welfare
  • Improved public administration
Potential errors
  • False positive - Person receives benefits they are not entitled to
  • False negative - Person does not receive their benefits

Predictive policing

Potential benefits
  • More crimes detected
  • Less crime
Potential errors
  • False positive - Innocent person suspected; Less trust
  • False negative - Crimes not identified; Rise in crime

Medical diagnosis

Potential benefits
  • Better healthcare
Potential errors
  • False positive - Wrong treatment; Less trust
  • False negative - Disease not diagnosed; Healthcare does not improve

Targeted advertising

Potential benefits
  • Better consumer information
  • Greater profits for companies
Potential errors
  • False positive - Person receives irrelevant adverts/ offensive content
  • False negative - Adverts miss their target; Inefficient adverts

Based on FRA’s report - Getting the future right – Artificial intelligence and fundamental rights in the EU

Shows potential errors when AI:

  • Wrongly declares a result (false positive)
  • Fails to declare a match (false negative)

The severity and scale of these potential benefits and errors is one aspect that needs to be considered when assessing the fundamental rights impact of using AI.