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Monday March 19, 2018

EC Wants to Assemble Experts on New Technology

The European Commission until April 30 seeks members for an expert group on new technologies. The move is part of an ongoing review (PSL, 11/6/17) of the Product Liability Directive, and safety is a major element. The solicitation ( by DG Justice and Consumers explains:

"Since the [1985] adoption of the Directive, the EU and its product safety [law] have evolved dramatically. So have the economy and technologies. Many products available today have characteristics that were not wide-spread or even available in the 1980s. The challenges we are facing now – to name but a few – relate to digitisation, the Internet of Things ('IoT'), artificial intelligence ('AI') and cybersecurity.

Activity would take two tracks. The first involves general updates to the directive, some as basic as modernizing definitions of terms like product, producer, defect, and damage.


With the latter, focus would include how emerging technology changes products and services. Although also mentioning issues like 3D printing and blockchain, much focus is on autonomous systems. The call-for-experts asserts:

"As a consequence of the technological progress, the complexity of algorithms governing autonomous systems increases, resulting in systems with sophisticated self-learning capabilities and increased autonomy…Autonomous systems may however also act in a way which was not foreseeable at the time when the system was produced or put into operation…The different layers of components that compose autonomous systems increase the complexity of liability issues. The connection of physical devices with other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity (IoT) results in an increased level of complexity which needs to be taken into account."