External Publication

Liability: When Things Go Wrong in an Increasingly Interconnected and Autonomous World: A European View

In the following article, Scott Marcus first considers the sources of potential defects and what might be done to redress them. He then goes on to consider what constitutes a product defect as well as the associated liability in light of recent (and potential future) EU Directives.

By: Date: June 6, 2019 Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy

The Internet of Things (IoT) potentially offers society not only economic advantage but also gains in product quality and safety. At the same time, IoT (in conjunction with related technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to which we collectively refer as IoT/AI/ML) may open new potential product safety and liability exposures.

What problems might be anticipated? Are potential exposures dealt with adequately by existing legal and policy measures, or do they call for some re-thinking of existing law and regulation? The European Union (EU) has adopted a common approach to two key groups of policy instruments in order to facilitate trade of goods and services throughout the EU: (1) product safety regulation, which establishes standards to which goods must conform; and (2) liability regulation, which enables consumers to recover their costs if they are harmed or injured due to a malfunctioning product (or potentially a defective service). Both are important, but our focus here is on liability.

A few key questions emerge:

Who is responsible? The merchant? The manufacturer? The programmer? Or the service or device itself? Value chains in this interconnected universe are complex. The use of machine learning poses particularly daunting challenges.

How is the user to achieve redress? The burden of proof must be neither too high (making it impractical  or injured parties to receive compensation) nor too low (which risks needlessly impeding innovation).

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Opinion

Europe may be the world’s AI referee, but referees don’t win

The EU needs to invest in homegrown technology.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 19, 2020
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Blog Post

The EU’s poverty reduction efforts should not aim at the wrong target

The EU cannot meet its ‘poverty’ targets, because the main indicator used to measure poverty actually measures income inequality. The use of the wrong indicator could lead to a failure to monitor those who are really poor in Europe, and a risk they could be forgotten.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 18, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

The EU's plan to catch up on artificial intelligence

While the US and China have been setting the pace when it comes to Artificial Intelligence, the European Union seems to be lagging behind. What are the Commission's plans to finally catch up? Will AI increase the gap between big and small companies? This week, Nicholas Barrett is joined by Julia Anderson and Guntram Wolff to discuss the EU's plan for AI.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 14, 2020
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Blog Post

The dynamics of data accumulation

The bigger you are, the more data you can harvest. But does data accumulation necessarily breed monopolies in AI and related machine learning markets?

By: Julia Anderson Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 11, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

Industrial revolutions might not be as fun as they look

AI promises a new industrial revolution but history warns us that industrial revolutions aren't always that fun for people in the eye of the storm. This week, Nicholas Barrett and Maria Demertzis spoke with Dr. Carl Frey, author of the book "The technology trap: capital, labor, and power in the age of automation", and Robert D. Atkinson, President of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), about how artificial intelligence will affect the job market.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 5, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The quality and quantity of work in the age of AI

At this event, the panelists will discuss the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the labour market and the future of work in general.

Speakers: Robert Atkinson, Anna Byhovskaya, Maria Demertzis, Carl Frey and Daniel Samaan Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 5, 2020
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Opinion

Berlin will make or break the European Green Deal

€1 trillion isn't enough for the European Green Deal and the EU's fiscal framework is constraining public investment. "Mrs Merkel, tear down this rule".

By: Grégory Claeys and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 3, 2020
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Blog Post

Do AI markets create competition policy concerns?

AI markets are young and their structure is yet to crystallise. Is European competition law ready for what happens next?

By: Julia Anderson Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 23, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

The European AI policy: writing the first lines of the code

At this closed-door event, an open discussion with Margrethe Vestager will contribute to her work on artificial intelligence. The aim of these discussions is to set out a policy and regulatory approach in the form of a white paper, including the human and ethical implications of AI.

Speakers: Margrethe Vestager and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 21, 2020
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Podcast

Podcast

AI in Europe: a conversation with Google's CEO

It seems almost inevitable that Google will be big part of Europe's future. And Europe will be a huge part of Google's too. This week, Alphabet, Google's parent company, hit $1 trillion market cap for the first time. Can Google's AI be socially beneficial? Are big tech companies intrinsically bad? This week, Guntram Wolff talked to Google and Alphabet's CEO, Sundar Pichai.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 20, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

Partnering with Europe on responsible AI: a conversation with Sundar Pichai, CEO Google and Alphabet

At this event, Google's and Alphabet's CEO Sundar Pichai will elaborate on his views on Artificial Intelligence.

Speakers: Sundar Pichai and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: SQUARE, Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels Date: January 20, 2020
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Policy Contribution

Market versus policy Europeanisation: has an imbalance grown over time?

This Policy Contribution tests the hypothesis that an imbalance has grown in Europe over the last few decades because markets have integrated to a greater extent than European-level policymaking, potentially creating difficulties for the democratic process in managing the economy. This hypothesis has been put forward by several authors but not so far tested empirically.

By: Leonardo Cadamuro and Francesco Papadia Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 9, 2020
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