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Ireland’s official standards body, The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), is co-hosting a key European Standards Technical Committee between the 12th and 14th of February 2024, focused on developing standards in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

 

In December 2023, The European Parliament and European Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). Following this, the European Commission submitted a standardization request to the European Joint Technical Committee around AI (CEN-CENELEC JTC 21 "Artificial Intelligence"). NSAI is co-hosting the ninth plenary meeting of CEN-CENELEC JTC 21 "Artificial Intelligence – the first since this agreement was reached.

 

Commenting on the development of standards in AI and their role in supporting Irish enterprise, the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary TD said, “Ireland is committed to an AI approach which is responsible, ethical, and trustworthy – with people at its core. As a powerful and fast-evolving technology that is and will continue to have a significant global impact, we must ensure that regulation is both effective and cohesive, whilst supporting innovation and growth. I commend the leadership of the NSAI in this space and their continued commitment to develop responsible AI standards.  Many enterprises in Ireland are already actively engaging with artificial intelligence providing a wealth of industry experience. Together with the expertise within NSAI and the wider expert network of the European Joint Technical Committee, I have no doubt the resulting standards will put us in a stronger position to harness the benefits of AI for both society and the economy.”

 

Speaking ahead of the 9th plenary meeting, which is being co-hosted by Microsoft Ireland, NSAI CEO, Geraldine Larkin commented; “AI Standards and Conformity Assessment are central to the new European regulatory model for AI and are key tools in providing clarity for Irish industry and assurance to the public on regulatory compliance with the forthcoming EU AI Act. NSAI’s role as Ireland’s national standards body and its active contributions to JTC 21 supports the work of AI regulatory development in Ireland and we are delighted to be co-hosting this inaugural post-agreement plenary and facilitating these key discussions at European level.”

 

The plenary sessions in Dublin, taking place at Microsoft Ireland’s offices in Leopardstown, will focus on a variety of issues impacting the standardisation of AI. Speaking ahead of the event, Anne Sheehan, General Manager, Microsoft Ireland emphasised, “We are delighted to be co-hosting this plenary session with the NSAI. By working together, experts in AI from industry to academia, policy making to standards development can ensure that the resulting standards in fast-moving areas such as AI are firmly rooted in both safety and innovation. This plenary session is being held at a critical time in the advancement of the European and global outlook on artificial intelligence and we value the opportunity to facilitate these critical discussions at One Microsoft Place in Dublin.”

 

At the end of the opening day on February 12th, a panel discussion around artificial intelligence is being organised for the European delegations by NSAI and the SFI ADAPT Centre. Taking place at Trinity Business School, Minister Dara Calleary TD will be delivering the opening address. This event will provide a valuable opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of standards in AI and their role in shaping our future. Speakers will explore the critical importance of international standards in AI from a variety of perspectives, highlighting how they influence industry innovation, shape governmental policies, and redefine best practices in the field.

 

Further information about the work of NSAI in developing standards can be found at NSAI.ie/standards