19. March 2024

AI: Utopia or digital hell? – Why the AfD abstained from voting on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act

AI: Utopia or digital hell? – Why the AfD abstained from voting on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act

Dear fellow citizens,

Last week, the EU Parliament voted on the new AI law, the "Artificial Intelligence Act" (AIA). Its aim is to regulate important areas relating to artificial intelligence (AI).

To say it straight away: artificial intelligence is a very complex topic. On the one hand, it opens up great technological and social opportunities, but on the other hand, it can also lead us straight to social and digital hell if misused. This misuse can come not only from criminals or companies, but also from governments themselves.

Due to this scope and complexity, a thorough and differentiated examination of AI is essential. For this reason, my colleagues in the AfD parliamentary group and I felt compelled to abstain from the vote. But why actually?

AI is an extremely powerful but double-edged sword and its capabilities are growing every day. AI is already being used in medicine for the early detection of diseases such as cancer. In industry, AI is used for process control, quality assurance and error identification. In the care and rehabilitation sector, AI helps with speech recognition (e.g. for aphasia and dementia) or in the control of exoskeletons for paraplegics. AI is also becoming increasingly important for law enforcement agencies, for example in recognizing counterfeit passports or tracking down criminals.

And this is precisely where the problem begins. For each of the above-mentioned useful applications, a negative misuse scenario can also be identified.

What will protect us from police authorities using biometric mass surveillance to search the entire population instead of specific criminals? What prevents AI from controlling not only the exoskeletons of paralyzed people, but soon also autonomous weapons systems in order to automate warfare and, in the worst case, make human decisions superfluous? If banks use AI to detect money laundering, what prevents them from monitoring, reporting or restricting the payment transactions of politically undesirable citizens at the call of government agencies in the future? AI would be the key technology behind the development of an oppressive Chinese-style social credit system or predictive policing - a discriminatory police practice that would violate human dignity and the presumption of innocence. The role played by AI in the manipulation of public opinion and internet censorship is something we all remember only too well since the corona coercive measures regime.

The new European AI law is the world's first attempt to regulate AI. But many questions remain unanswered. Regulation is undoubtedly necessary, but over-regulation could lead to us losing even more technological and economic ground internationally. Then others will take over the debate.

In a serious and honest discussion of the topic of AI, it is neither possible to simply reject the law nor to agree with it. Some of the positions it contains make sense, while others do not; some are completely absent. During the legislative process, we as the AfD within the ID parliamentary group have had the opportunity since summer 2023 to table detailed amendments to make our differentiated position clearer. Unfortunately, as usual, these were blocked by the other parties.

Too many conflicting interests are now irreconcilable in this law. The legal text is imprecise and flawed. However, rejecting it would have meant abandoning regulation altogether. Including that of hi-risk technologies. For all these reasons, after careful consideration, we finally abstained from the vote.


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