Another area in which the use of AI systems deserves special consideration is the access to and enjoyment of certain essential private and public services and benefits necessary for people to fully participate in society or to improve one’s standard of living. In particular, AI systems used to evaluate the credit score or creditworthiness of natural persons should be classified as high-risk AI systems, since they determine those persons’ access to financial resources or essential services such as housing, electricity, and telecommunication services. AI systems used for this purpose may lead to discrimination of persons or groups and perpetuate historical patterns of discrimination, for example based on racial or ethnic origins, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, or create new forms of discriminatory impacts. Considering the very limited scale of the impact and the available alternatives on the market, it is appropriate to exempt AI systems for the purpose of creditworthiness assessment and credit scoring when put into service by micro or small enterprises, as defined in the Annex of Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC for their own use. Natural persons applying for or receiving essential public assistance benefits and services from public authorities are typically dependent on those benefits and services and in a vulnerable position in relation to the responsible authorities. If AI systems are used for determining whether such benefits and services should be denied, reduced, revoked or reclaimed by authorities, including whether beneficiaries are legitimately entitled to such benefits or services, those systems may have a significant impact on persons’ livelihood and may infringe their fundamental rights, such as the right to social protection, non-discrimination, human dignity or an effective remedy. Those systems should therefore be classified as high-risk. Nonetheless, this Regulation should not hamper the development and use of innovative approaches in the public administration, which would stand to benefit from a wider use of compliant and safe AI systems, provided that those systems do not entail a high risk to legal and natural persons. Finally, AI systems used to dispatch or establish priority in the dispatching of emergency first response services should also be classified as high-risk since they make decisions in very critical situations for the life and health of persons and their property. AI systems are also increasingly used for risk assessment in relation to natural persons and pricing in the case of life and health insurance which, if not duly designed, developed and used, can lead to serious consequences for people’s life and health, including financial exclusion and discrimination. To ensure a consistent approach within the financial services sector, the above mentioned exception for micro or small enterprises for their own use should apply, insofar as they themselves provide and put into service an AI system for the purpose of selling their own insurance products.
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