How GDPR Will Impact the AI Industry

In what can be described as a kind of arms race, tech companies have been amassing large volumes of user data to hone the artificial intelligence algorithms that power their applications and platforms. Thus far, they've mostly been able to evade accountability when their practices have pushed them into legally and ethically gray areas.

Opens a New Window.But that might change on May 25, when the European Union's General Data Protection Rules (GDPR)Opens a New Window. come into effect. The GDPR will impose unprecedented restrictions on the collection and handling of user data in the EU region and slap heavy penalties on companies that fail to comply.

That might sound like bad news for companies that use AI algorithms, which have benefitted from lax data-collection regulations (and lengthy, boring, and ambiguous terms of service documents). Some fear that stricter rules will hamper innovation and deployment of artificial intelligence in many applications and domains. Others believe the new directive will create a foundation where AI applications will become more reliable and trustable.

Whatever the case, the AI industry is in for a big shift in the GDPR era.